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Published On: Mon, Mar 30th, 2020

Migrants sprayed with bleach In Bareilly…

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pjimage-87-696x420BAREILLY (UP): Reports of the District administration spraying migrant labourers returning to Bareilly with an ‘open bath’ of some chemicals, ostensibly to disinfect them, have sparked outrage.

The incident, which took place near a bus station, surfaced on Twitter, purportedly showing people, including children, herded in one corner of the road being sprayed with the disinfectant. Some Twitter users even alleged that the workers were given a “chemical bath”.
The shocking video of migrants being “disinfected” has emerged from Uttar Pradesh on a day the Supreme Court took up a petition seeking relief for the thousands walking to their home states amid the 21-day lockdown.
According to a  journalist, tweeted short clips of migrant labourers and their families sitting hunched by the side of a barricaded road while officials in white protective gowns are seen spraying a liquid on them.
Ashok Gautam, the nodal officer in charge of the Covid-19 mitigation group, confirmed that the migrants were sprayed with chlorine-mixed water, but maintained the step was necessary to contain a possible spread of the Sars-Cov-2 virus, which is causing the deadly infection.
“We tried to keep them safe and asked them to shut their eyes,” Gautam said. “It’s natural they will get wet.” District magistrate Nitish Kumar said some officials may have crossed the line in the sanitisation drive involving the workers who arrived in special buses run by the government.
“We have looked into the video. Teams of Bareilly Nagar Nigam (civic body) and fire brigade were asked to sanitise buses. But they went overboard. We have ordered action against the concerned people. Those affected are being treated under the guidance of CMO (chief medical officer),” he tweeted.
District magistrate Nitish Kumar however admitted the act was a mistake and attributed it to “overactive” civic-body personnel and said action would be taken against them. Chief Fire Officer Chandra Mohan Sharma, who said they typically used sodium hypochlorite, also known as liquid bleach, to disinfect inanimate objects like the chassis of public transport vehicles, railings, etc.
Interestingly, the same report in The Hindu quoted a medical officer named Ashutosh Parashari saying that sodium hypochlorite solution was indeed sprayed on the migrants, and that”it does not have such hazards… that’s why it was used.”
This is also at odds with known facts about bleach. Both sodium hypochlorite and calcium hypochlorite – another bleaching material used commonly in powder form – break down in contact with water and release chlorine, an extremely reactive element.
This chlorine can cause a burning sensation in the eyes, inside and around the mouth, and on the skin. In higher concentrations, when it is more likely to be effective at eliminating the virus from the skin, chlorine can even cause burns and damage eyesight.
(With Agency Inputs ).

 

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