The mandatory Covid protocols went for a toss during the launch event for the new Eastern West Khasi Hills district that took place yesterday.
Scenes from the celebration apparently showed members of the public revelling in the inauguration of Meghalaya’s twelfth district sans any adherence to Covid protocols.
People have criticised the apparent abandonment of Covid-19 standard operating procedures as concerts were held in the new district and not even an inch of space was visible at the venue.
“On one hand there are protocols that are to be strictly followed in religious institutions while on the other hand there is a direct violation of the SOPs everywhere else,” Congress MDC Charles Marngar said.
He said that the public gathering yesterday during the inauguration of the district was an extreme example of the violation of SOPs and this was also the case when the recent by-poll results were declared.
Members of the public said it was an insult to the health workers.
Many have even commented that such flagrant violation of Covid protocols was done at the behest of the authorities who allowed such mass gathering to take place despite the impending threat of a third wave of Covid pandemic.
What irked most people is that Covid protocols were imposed at the whims and fancies of the authorities.
“During the recent by-elections, large gatherings took place at many places but the authorities appeared to have gone soft on the violators,” a school teacher said.
Similar voices of concern were also expressed by many people who felt that the government was applying different yardsticks as far as enforcement of Covid protocols is concerned.
“In churches, worshippers were asked to maintain social distance, wear masks and also to avoid large gatherings but when big concerts were held at Mairang and Kynshi to celebrate the inauguration of the new district, the authorities preferred to turn a blind eye. Does the government think that Covid-19 is present only in worship places,” a shopkeeper at Iewduh said.
A taxi driver from Malki also echoed similar views. “Taxis are allowed to ply on odd-even rules. We are not allowed to carry passengers at full capacity. Look at what happened during the inauguration of Eastern West Khasi Hills. Is Covid-19 a threat only for taxi drivers and passengers? Clearly, the government has shown its partiality.”