Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi Blasts Govt For Sealing Her Office
Bhubaneswar: MP Aparajita Sarangi dashed a letter to Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Saturday alleging that her office was illegally sealed and the body has no authority for the action taken against her in the wake of media reports displaying a viral video evincing blatant violation of Covid guidelines during her recent birthday party celebration.
Sarangi alleged that the sealing of 15 days amounts to forcible dispossession from her legal possession and it has been done in contravention of existing rules. She also cautioned the body in her letter that she has every right to claim adequate compensation from the BMC for such excessive use of authority beyond its jurisdiction, to initiate defamation and such other suitable legal proceeding.
“The order to seal my office has been made on the basis of a purported video clipping, which does not prove that the congregation in my office-cum-residence was in violation of existing norms. The sealing was done without giving me an opportunity of being heard,” she wrote.
The parliamentarian further mentioned that she and none of her well wishers in the video have been detected with Covid or its symptoms since the date of the incident on October 8.
“The supporters seen in the video were allowed entry only after observance of the Covid protocols and after going through a sanitising chamber which is placed at the entrance of the office,” she added.
Sarangi, a former BMC Commissioner alleged that the order of the Government of Odisha on October 1, on which BMC has taken this illegal action is in violation of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued as per MHA order no 40-3/2020-DM-I (A) on September 30.
“As per Clause 1 (vii) of the MHA order, “social, academic, sports, entertainment, cultural, religious, political functions and other congregations have already been permitted with a ceiling of 100 persons outside containment zones only,” she wrote.
The State Health and Family Welfare Department, vide its notification number 15375 issued on June 30, has laid down the guideline on preventive measures to contain the spread of Covid-19. Para six of the guideline speaks of closure of workplace.
It states that, there is no need to close the entire office building or halt work in other areas of office and work can be resumed after disinfection as per the laid down protocol. However if there is larger outbreak, the entire building will have to be closed for 48 hours after thorough disinfection. All the staff will work from home till the building is adequately disinfected.
“When the health department guidelines itself suggests for a maximum or 48 hours closure of an office in case of a large outbreak of Covid-19. Under which provision the BMC has sealed my office premise for 15 days when there has not been a single outbreak there,” she questioned adding that the penal provisions under Disaster Management Act, Epidemic Act and Section 188 of Indian Penal Code don’t empower BMC to seal a private person’s office-cum residence for 15 days.
Targeting Odisha government, Aparajita said that the sealing of her office was a vindictive act to malign her image.
Even though comments could not be obtained from BMC authorities or the State government over Sarangi’s allegations, the BMC has withdrawn the sealing order for the parliamentarian’s office a day after announcing its decision to open all closed down shops/commercial establishments/institutions in view of Puja celebrations.
Following the order, the office of the parliamentarian was opened after 8 days.