Decisions that defy all logic

Decisions that defy all logic

Karnataka CM B S Yediyurappa

While Karnataka’s overall handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has drawn wide praise, the quixotic decisions of the government on various fronts have left people completely confused, leading to total chaos. One among the many such irrational orders is that of the Sunday curfew that came at a time when the government itself has considerably watered down lockdown guidelines to kickstart the economy. As offices reopened and the lock down was eased, this would be the first Sunday that households could venture out to shop for non-essentials after a long time. Besides, being the penultimate day of Ramzan, establishments which had shut down for about two months, especially small businesses, could have benefitted immensely from festive shopping. To add to the woes, travel restrictions that were relaxed were re-imposed for a day on Sunday, prohibiting people from entering and leaving the state or even using their vehicles. Such unreasonable decisions have become the order of the day. One circular that the government issued on May 22 for resident welfare associations was withdrawn two days later.

The flip-flop on decisions regarding Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) for stranded people returning home from outside the state is even worse. On arriving in Karnataka, many were shocked beyond belief when they realised that the earlier order mandating 14 days of home quarantine was abruptly changed to compulsory institutional quarantine. The rules were once again modified to permit home quarantine for returnees from some states. Recently, DGP Praveen SOOD tweeted that people travelling through Bengaluru to catch international flights would not be quarantined. But the fact remains that international flights are not yet operational. Such contradictions and lack of clarity have led to disarray at the district-level where the decisions of deputy commissioners are often in conflict with the state government’s diktats. Former Udupi MLA Pramod Madhwaraj, for instance, has been in a constant feud with the local administration for allegedly wrongly quarantining people and restricting free movement.

Important orders that impact the common man are issued in bits and pieces, and then amended even before the ink on the paper dries. No doubt, the situation is dynamic and requires politicians and bureaucrats to think on their feet, but that does not preclude them from appreciating the situation both holistically and judiciously, instead of acting without proper application of mind. The manner in which orders are passed and then rescinded or modified, leaves no one in doubt that various departments of the government are working in silos without even going through the pretension of consulting each other. It is high time Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa cracked the whip and instilled some discipline during these challenging times, lest people lose all faith in the administration.

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