Government shoots down Mysuru DC’s new COVID-19 restrictions

The State government has torpedoed the advisory issued by Mysuru Deputy Commissioner Rohini Sindhuri on carrying RT-PCR negative report if travelling from Bengaluru to Mysuru or visiting places of tourist interest.

Ms. Sindhuri on Thursday said that carrying RT-PCR negative report was an advisory if travelling from Bengaluru to Mysuru, but would not be checked or considered mandatory. However, she said that a negative report was must for people to visit places of tourist interest in Mysuru. The district administration also announced that an RT-PCR negative report was mandatory to watching films in theatres.

The announcement was greeted with a barrage of criticism on the grounds that it was not practical, given that thousands of people commuted daily/regularly between the two cities.

Within hours, the State government issued a circular stating that the Deputy Commissioners of various districts were not authorised to announce separate contingency plans to combat the pandemic. It directed that such orders be withdrawn.

The government circular, issued by Principal Secretary N. Manjunath Prasad, who is also member-secretary (Disaster Management), was addressed to all the Deputy Commissioners and other officials in the bureaucracy, and not any particular individual.

The circular stated that the government was trying to ensure uniformity in the protocols being followed to fight the pandemic and was complying with the norms issued by the Centre.

It stated that any orders or directives on containment, traffic movement, restrictions on congregations and more should be issued under the seal of the Chief Secretary after seeking the consent of the Chief Minister.

“Yet, it has come to the notice of the government that certain Deputy Commissioners are issuing directives independently and at variance with the Chief Minister’s directives for uniformity in policy decisions,” Mr. Prasad said in the circular. Hence, he said, any separate directives issued by department heads, Deputy Commissioners, and local corporations should be rescinded.

This is the second time that the State government has stepped in to overrule a decision of the Deputy Commissioner of Mysuru on the issue of combating the pandemic. In October last year, the district administration barred people from visiting places of tourist interest during Dasara. This triggered a protest from stakeholders. But the Chief Minister overruled the decision, following which the district administration’s original directives were withdrawn.

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