Pune: Yet another horrifying experience of the indifferent attitude of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) staff towards citizens was witnessed by a family in Narayan Peth. Besides rejecting the possibility of a home visit for collecting the swab samples of a 90-year-old woman, some employees at the Sanas ground centre dared to suggest the elderly woman to stand in a queue at the testing centre and climb stairs before she could reach the actual sample collection point.
COVID-19 positive patients and those suspected to have come in close contact with them are facing several problems in the city. Right from a shortage of hospital beds, testing kits to sub-standard food being offered. In addition to this, complaints of ill-treatment have now begun pouring in. A few days back a PMC employee himself was subject to such behaviour and he was left unattended for five days at the isolation centre of PMC.
While private labs are offering home visit swab test service at a fee of Rs 2800 from citizens, not everyone can afford it. So several citizens prefer to get tests done at the PMC testing facility which is available free of cost to everyone. However, PMC staff doesn't offer home visits and long queues are seen at its testing centre, with an inadequate number of testing kits available with the staff.
The ordeal faced by the 90-year-old woman was brought to light by office bearers of a socio-political organisation based in Narayan Peth. According to the information provided by them, a young man had tested positive in Narayan Peth on July 16. PMC health staff had advised the family members and their neighbours to get swab tests done at the earliest to rule out any possibility of coronavirus transmission to them. However when the family requested for a home visit for testing the 90-year-old ailing woman the staff simply refused. When she was taken to the testing centre by an ambulance the next day (July 17) morning, some employees at the centre asked her to wait in a queue and climb stairs, at which point she broke into tears.
When the relatives asked for arranging the test kit on the ground floor, the staff asked them to go to the Bibvewadi centre. They requested for a stretcher to carry her upstairs but that option too was ruled out by the staff. Finally, when they asked for a chair to carry her, a female officer denied offering one. The organisation has condemned this incident and appealed to the administration to arrange for home visits for tests of senior citizens and persons with disabilities.