Union Minister Flouts Karnataka's Rules for Air Passengers, Skips Institutional Quarantine

D.V. Sadananda Gowda told a news portal that the rules did not apply to him because he is "pharma minister." Gowda is chemicals and fertilisers minister.

New Delhi: Union minister and senior BJP leader from Karnataka, D.V. Sadananda Gowda, arrived in Bengaluru in a flight from Delhi and skipped institutional quarantine – which the Karnataka government has made mandatory for all passengers touching down from states with high rates of positive cases.

As per the state’s standard operating procedure for passengers arriving in flights from various parts of the country, any returnee from “high prevalence states (Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh)” are to mandatorily undergo institutional quarantine for seven days at their own expense.

This would need to be followed by seven more days of home quarantine if their tests – to be conducted during the first week of institutional quarantine – show negative results.

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Mandatory home quarantine for 14 days would be applicable for all those arriving from the rest of the states.

However, skipping the first part of the rules, set for all returnees from the five states including Delhi, Gowda, on his arrival at the Bengaluru airport, got into his official vehicle and went home.

On being asked about it, Gowda told India Today that the rules could be relaxed for him as he is the ‘pharma minister’. Gowda, who is a former chief minister of Karnataka, is the chemicals and fertiliser minister in the Narendra Modi government.

The Karnataka quarantining rules do not mention any exceptions for ministers.

Among those allowed to skip institutional quarantine are businessmen “coming for urgent work,” and bidders “coming to participate in auctions if perishable agricultural commodities”. They need to carry negative COVID-19 test reports not older than two days from the date of travel from an ICMR approved lab.

The rules mention that even defence, paramilitary, railways, DRDO, ISRO, and PSU officials are to undergo institutional quarantine at designated guest houses.