Passengers flying in from international destinations to Rajasthan are in for an unpleasant surprise if they have taken an Air Suvidha approval prior to boarding. The flight that landed in Jaipur at 5pm on 23 September has 220 passengers, of which 44 people were scheduled to reach Udaipur. Apparently, the rules for home quarantine of international passengers flying in to Rajasthan being followed strictly and HOME QUARANTINE is no longer an option for incoming international passengers who are NOT CARRYING Air Suvidha approvals on them.
All passengers took their flight from Kuwait after getting a COVID-ve certificate, which needed them to take approval from the online portal of the ministry of external affairs. The approval alongwith a hard copy of the approval was enough for them to proceed through the health check and immigration and leave the airport to get to their final destinations. This was the protocol in place from August 8, 2020.
However, it has been a nightmare over the last 24 hours for passengers who arrived in Jaipur on an inbound flight from Kuwait on 23 September and were NOT CARRYING Air Suvidha approvals. As per the narrative given to UdaipurTimes by one of the passengers Aziz, the passengers were stopped at the airport exit by authorities who refused to allow them to travel freely beyond the airport and were not ready to reason.
The passengers (who had the COVID -ve certificate) were told that as per orders from the Rajasthan administration, there would be an institutional quarantine either at a government managed facility or an approved hotel in Jaipur for 7 days. When the passengers insisted, the lady and police personnel who had stopped them said that the Collector's report will be needed else they would be quarantined at Jaipur.
After much deliberation, the passengers were allowed to board a bus that was arranged to take them to an institutional quarantine center at Udaipur. As per Aziz, there was just a single bus (28 seater) which was commissioned for 44 passengers. When they refused to board, two more buses were arranged and 44 passengers (minus a pregnant lady, who was permitted to leave by personal transport) accompanied by a policeman, Gajendra Singh, proceeded for Udaipur at 9pm on 23 September.
The buses stopped at unhygenic dhabas on the route, without any concern for health and safety of the passengers "travelling under quarantine". Neither the bus drivers nor conductors including the policeman were wearing a mask or observing social distancing protocol. The policeman had taken control of the passports of all passengers.
While the passengers were nearing Udaipur, they were informed that the bus would be taking them to Kherwara as all the government managed quarantine centers in Udaipur were occupied, and 44 people could not be accomodated. The buses diverted for Kherwara after reaching The Celebration Mall. This information was not provided initially by either the control room nor by the policeman initially. This was informed to Aziz by his realtives in Udaipur, who were also in touch with the control room at Udaipur. On asking the policeman as to whether he had any instructions, the policeman showed them a WhatsApp message mentioning that passengers needed to be transferred to Kherwara.
On reaching Kherwara at 7am today morning, the passengers were taken to a remote institutional quarantine center, which was devoid of proper running water, had dirty toilets and just 18 beds. When Aziz spoke to the warden about the conditions, he was told that it is only people from Udaipur who take offence to the arrangements and nearly 800 people have already been quarantined in this center in the past. The Control Room, when contacted, said that the SDM would arrive by 8am and a decision on alternative arrangements would be taken.
When the SDM (Tehsildar) arrived at 8am, he took stock of the situation and agreed to transfer those willing to pay for hotel accommodation, to Udaipur. 18 passengers gave their consent to hotel quarantine, selecting their preferred hotels. It took another three hours for the list and formalities to be finalised.
The Tehsildar (SDM) appointed one staff by the name of Shareef Siddiqi to join the policeman in accompanying the passengers to Udaipur. The drivers of the buses that bought them to Kherwara, refused to drive as they excused themselves for being tired after a long journey. The passengers, who had not been served even water all this time, were given tea, which was arranged by a passenger who was from Kherwara, from his home. After another hour, the passengers were served dry Poha for breakfast.
A private bus was arranged for 18 passengers who paid Rs 6500 to the driver to bring them to Udaipur. Prior to their departure from Kherwara, the passengers were instructed to arrive directly at the Collectorate, but this instruction was revoked in a short while and passengers were sent to their respective hotels. 15 passengers took hotel quarantine at Udaipur Palace hotel in Savina and the remaining opted for other hotels in the city, including Ananta. Those passengers who did not alight at Savina, had to request private vehicles which drove them with their luggage to their respective hotels for their mandatory 7 day quarantine.