Bengaluru: On May 12, IT professional Saranya Sakshi (name changed) and her husband came to Bengaluru from Kerala. As per the protocol for people coming in, they were put into seven days' institutional quarantine at a budget hotel. After repeated requests the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagare Palike (BBMP) moved them to a three-star hotel in Koramangala.
In three days, Saranya found an insect in the food served to her. After the couple raised alarm, the hotel requested them to not to lodge a complaint. On May 25, she found another insect in her food, so she wrote a complaint to the BBMP health department.
Saranya said she found the whole quarantine experience trying. The staff of the hotel were ill-mannered and dismissed her complaints with "You are the only one complaining." At the end of a seven-day state, the couple tested negative for coronavirus, and were happy to go home, Rs 55,000 lighter.
Helpline Twitter handles are loaded with such complaints about the paid quarantine services. Deccan Chronicle checked the quarantine experience of international passengers at star hotels in Bengaluru.
Neetu Singh, sports and fitness instructor reached the city from Bali four days ago. Little did she know that her harrowing experience will begin shortly. Neither the hotel rooms were clean nor food was satisfactory.
“I saw a few women who are 25-30 weeks pregnant. Though they should have been exempted from institutional quarantine, they are there in the hotel. We did not get hotels of our choice. In fact at the airport we were made to wait in the bus for two hours,” she narrated her ordeal.
While the BBMP has fixed the price for low budget hotel at Rs 750, Aravind S, who came from Himachal Pradesh, upon reaching the hotel, he was asked to shell out Rs 1,800.
After receiving the complaint, when DIPR Karnataka reached out to the hotel authorities the phones were found to be switched off.
On the fifth day, when BBMP officials reached the quarantined people vented their woes. Since the kids at the hotel were tested first, even on the fifth day the results were not given to them.
Another inmate from the Manpho Bell, hotel, Ravindran (name changed) confirmed the complaints and said, “The ceiling of the bathroom in the hotel crashed. However, the Joint Commissioner and other officials took this matter and assured us that such incidents will not happen again.”
With stained linens in the room to paying extra for a soap and detergent the inmates here had a harrowing time.
When state health department was contacted, a senior official on the condition of anonymity said, “We have been getting complaints form the paid quarantine centers'. But everyone should understand that the number of Covid-19 patients is rising but not the doctors. We are trying our best to conduct the test in time.”
While the media was not allowed inside the hotel, the issue was brought before the BBMP.
On checking with the BBMP commissioner, BH Anil Kumar, he said that health officials are on the ground and he will look into the issue immediately.
“Moreover, hotels can charge the rates prescribed by the BBMP. If anyone is found to be charging beyond that action will be taken,” Kumar stated....