As Himachal Pradesh government plans to roll a red-carpet for President Ram Nath Kovind on his proposed five-day visit to the state on September 16, the shadow of Covid-19 is looming large on staff and personnel sent on VVIP duty at “The Retreat”—President’s high security holiday resort at Chhabrabara, 16 km from Shimla.
Four employees of the Rashtrapati Bhawan deployed at The Retreat have tested positive for Covid-19 and taken off from their duty with an immediate effect while those in their contact have been told to undergo RTPCR.
President, besides his other official engagements in Shimla, is scheduled to address the Golden Jubilee celebration function at the State assembly.
All former and sitting legislators of the House have been invited to the event for which the state Assembly secretariat is making elaborate arrangements.
But, amidst security drills and arrangements, what is worrying the state government most is safety against Covid-19 infection during the five day event beginning from September 17.
“It's a fact that Covid precautions and protocols are the forefront concerns for which we have taken certain decisions, including setting-up of a special testing facility for the staff, personnel and all officials on VVIP duty,” admits Speaker Vipin Singh Parmar.
Parmar held a meeting with top officials of the Police including DGP Sanjay Kundu, senior security officials, health authorities, Deputy Commissioner, Shimla and Superintendent of Police. He has also asked the health department to get RTPCR tests of all the personnel deployed on the duty of President, apart from those who will be coming to the Assembly.
The tests will be held at Hotel Peterhoff, Police Headquarters and The Retreat.
He also issued directions to fully sanitise the areas where the President will be visiting. This also include the state Assembly.
State’s Chief Secretary Ram Subhag Sharma also held a meeting of the officials to review the arrangements and asked for utmost precautions on Covid 19 during the upcoming visit of the President of India.
The President is also scheduled to visit the Indian Audit and Accounts Academy, ‘Yarrows’ and would also host “At Home” on September 19 at the Retreat.