The Assam government transferred Cachar deputy commissioner Barnali Sharma on Friday, the move coming in the wake of the massive criticism the district administration has been receiving since Thursday for its handling of suspected Covid-19 cases.
Sharma has been replaced by Hailakandi deputy commissioner Keerthi Jalli.
In an order issued by the Assam secretariat, Sharma has been posted as director of employment and craftsmen training in Guwahati. The staff officer of chief secretary’s office, Megha Nidhi Dahal, has been posted as Hailakandi deputy commissioner.
The Cachar administration was facing criticism after it allegedly sent suspected Covid-19 patients, who came in a bus from Ajmer to Silchar, to home quarantine.
With three more positive cases, the tally of Covid-19 patients, among passengers who returned from Ajmer, went up to eight.
They have been admitted to Silchar Medical College and Hospital.
Social media has been flooded with the criticism that the government should not allow the 45 passengers to go home after mere thermal screening. It is also alleged the bus returned with full capacity when the government had directed it to ply with 50 per cent passengers.
Former Silchar MP and president of All India Mahila Congress Sushmita Dev alleged the district administration had failed to manage the crisis.
She demanded an inquiry into the incident, particularly the violation of social-distancing norms inside the bus.
Forty-five people, including two drivers and a handyman, returned from Ajmer to Silchar on Wednesday morning. The passengers included a car-lifter from Tezpur, Faridul Islam, who showed coronavirus symptoms during the journey and was admitted to Silchar civil hospital. His sample was sent for testing and he tested positive at night.
Later, swab samples of all the passengers and crew were taken. All of them were later sent to institutional quarantine. The district administration declared 11 villages as containment zones. In Barak Valley, 12 people have tested positive for Covid-19 till date. Of them, one patient in Hailakandi died, while one each in Cachar and Karimganj districts were discharged from SMCH after they recovered.
Sources said several cases have been registered against Ali at Kaliabor, Geetanagar, Nagaon, Changsari and other police stations.
Sources also said he went to Ajmer three months back to avoid being arrested. In order to avoid being caught by Tezpur police, Islam probably came to Silchar, they added.
A case of car-lifting was registered against Islam around eight months ago.
His wife had said he went to Ajmer before the lockdown was imposed, sources said.