Union minister in-charge of pharma skips quarantine, sparks row
Union minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda was at the centre of a controversy on Monday after he did not undergo quarantine on arrival from Delhi by a flight here as stipulated, but defended it, saying he travelled under the exempted category being in-charge of pharmaceuticals, an essential sector.
The Karnataka government came to his defence, saying the Centre had issued orders exempting such people handling essential sectors from quarantine norms.
The minister, also Bengaluru North MP, drove off in an official car without undergoing institutional quarantine as mandated by the Karnataka government for air travellers coming from high Covid-19 prevalence states after arriving here by a commercial airline flight, services of which resumed after two months.
It triggered a controversy with several people taking to social media accusing him of violating norms while others saying rules are only meant for citizens and not for VVIPS, including ministers.
Union Minister Sadananda Gowda has refused to quarantine himself and said that these rules apply to citizens but not to him, as he has important responsibilities.— Khushboo (@Khush_boozing) May 25, 2020
And in his strongest of defence he said " I have #Appsetu installed and it shows Green, that means SAFE"😂😂
All Indians are equal but BJP leaders are more equal .— Lavanya Ballal | ಲಾವಣ್ಯ ಬಲ್ಲಾಳ್ (@LavanyaBallal) May 25, 2020
No quarantine rules for @DVSadanandGowda
Union minister Sadananda Gowda flies from Delhi to Bengaluru, skips Karnataka quarantine rules for fliers - India News https://t.co/3blQ4ENF36
Union Minister Sadananda Gowda landed in Bengaluru on Monday and has refused to quarantine himself, as is the norm for any individual arriving by flight into Karnataka.— आत्मनिर्भर 𝓐𝓷𝓴𝓲𝓽 𝓛𝓪𝓵 (@AnkitLal) May 25, 2020
Different rules for VIP's? https://t.co/JCEwACDyyr
The standard operating procedure (SoP) issued by the government mandates passengers coming from high COVID-19 prevalence states _ Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh _ to go for paid institutional quarantine for a period of seven days.
Defending himself, Gowda said he being a minister in-charge of the department of pharmaceuticals, which comes under essential supplies, he was under the exempted clause. Hence, he has been allowed to proceed.
'...you need people to work for the control (of COVID-19) right? If you say no one should come out can you stop this? As a pharma minister I need to check production, supplies, and ensure it reaches last point, it is my responsibility,' the chemicals and fertilisers minister told reporters.
'I come under the exemption clause and I have the exemptions... Arogya Setu App on my phone also shows I'm safe. After checking every things we conduct ourselves in a responsible way. Modi (PM Narendra Modi) also won’t spare us, if we move around according to our wish,' he added.
State minister S Suresh Kumar, who is spokesperson for COVID-19 in Karnataka, said, 'He (Gowda) is exempted in his capacity as a minister handling the pharma sector.....orders has already been issued by the Central government (in this regard).'
Gowda, who later held a meeting with state ministers and officials, also said his body temperature was checked before he left the airport.
The minister said he had not come in contact with any one and there were only 11 passengers in the flight.
The senior BJP leader also said though he could have opted for a special flight much before, he waited for domestic flights to resume as 'I am not a person who misuses things.'
According to the SoP, at the end of the seven days, passengers coming from the six high-prevalence states would be sent to home quarantine if they test negative for Covid-19.
Those coming from other states have been asked to follow 14 days of home quarantine.
In special cases involving businessmen coming for urgent work, they are permitted without quarantine if they produce negative test report of Covid-19 from ICMR approved laboratory obtained within two days ahead of their travel date.