BH CORRESPONDENT, Greater Noida: As the government braces for the unexpected during the coronavirus pandemic across the country in the coming weeks, it is leaving nothing to chance.
The local administration of Gautam Buddh Nagar district, Uttar Pradesh have found an ideal piece of infrastructure that was originally build for a high-profile motorsports event which is lying virtually unused after the India-designated race series was cancelled by F1 authorities in 2013 following tax disputes between the FIA and the Uttar Pradesh. government. According to official estimates, the owners of the track owe the government dues summing up to more Rs 600 crore.
Given the current scenario, the local administrations seeks to make better use of the Rs 2,000 crore FIA-approved Buddh International Circuit (BIC), the country’s first and only Formula One racetrack as a quarantine facility for coronavirus patients .
The decision to do so has been prompted by the mass exodus of migrant labourers who are trying go home in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar from Delhi and are holed up at the Delhi-UP border which has been sealed off.
As a result, on humanitarian grounds, the local administration has taken up the responsibility to provide food and shelter for these migrants. The current BIC infrastructure is owned by Jaypee Group, BIC is part of a larger 5,000 acre Jaypee Sports City located beside the Yamuna Expressway in Greater Noida.
It was only recently that YEIDA (Yamuna Expressway Industrial Developmental Authority) temporarily closed the facility on accounts of unpaid dues
Meanwhile, YEIDA has been given directions to set up the essential medical facilities at Jaypee Sports City with respect to provisions under Chapter 12, Uttar Pradesh Pandemic COVID-19 Guidelines, 2020.
The plan is to host migrants until 14 April 2020, which is the end-date of India’s corona virus lockdown.
According to YEIDA, the BIC facility is just one of around 20 facilities in and around Gautam Buddh Nagar that will be converted to temporary quarantine or shelter locations.
Separate quarantine section will also be constructed alongside the facility by authorities to help isolate infected from healthy in an event of an outbreak. These facilities will house the migrants at least till the end of the lockdown period and hosting can be extended if the lockdown period is increased further.