2 Covid deaths in CDPO office, Jalandhar ashram on toes

Gandhi Vanita Ashram houses several govt offices and four shelter homes with 180 inmates

2 Covid deaths in CDPO office,  Jalandhar ashram on toes

Gandhi Vanita Ashram in Jalandhar. Tribune photo

Aparna Banerji
Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, November 23

The entire staff of Gandhi Vanita Ashram was tested for Covid-19 today after two senior assistants in the office of the Child Development Project Officer (CDPO) East died from the infection.

One of the assistants died yesterday, while the other on November 20. Both were 50 years of age. The twin deaths have set alarm bells ringing at the ashram as the CDPO office is the hub of child development and protection services in Jalandhar.

The CDPO office plays a supervisory role at the ashram which houses four shelter homes – Children’s Home, Children’s Home for Girls, Observation Home (with a combined strength of about 180 inmates) and the Widows’ Home. The offices of the Child Welfare Committee, Juvenile Justice Board and Pension Department and Government Girls High School are on the ashram premises. Officials are worried about Children’s Home (for runaway girls) which currently has 100 inmates – double the sanctioned limit. Deputy Commissioner Ghanshyam Das Thori said the testing of inmates had been scheduled for tomorrow.

Three supervisors of the CDPO (East) are also currently displaying Covid symptoms. The office remained closed today. Alarmingly, no formal intimation regarding the deaths was made to any of the Gandhi Vanita homes or offices by the District Programme Officer (DPO).

CDPO (East) Amrik Singh said: “Two of my junior assistants have died of Covid and three supervisors are symptomatic. We have all been tested today. There is no further instruction yet.”

Amarjit Singh Anand, Senior Member of the Child Welfare Committee said, “We have received no formal intimation from the DPO about Covid deaths. Children’s Home houses more inmates that it’s sanctioned capacity. These are basic protocols that need to be followed in the Covid times.”

“The entire staff at Gandhi Vanita and DPO office has been tested. They shall be in quarantine until test reports come. After that those who test positive shall be sent for 17-day quarantine. The DPO will examine the scenario and give a recommendation by tomorrow,” the DC said.

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