DIMAPUR, MAY 25: Nagaland Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio today said that the Government is giving priority to the rural areas so that COVID does not spread in those areas.
Talking to media persons during his visit to the Institute of Hotel Management, which is also being converted into a COVID Hospital, he said Coronavirus should not spread to the rural areas, so the Government is also aggressively trying to intensify vaccination.
However, he said the virus has spread to all districts of the State and is prevalent in all districts except Noklak. He said Noklak is still safe because it is remote and enforcing a very strict lockdown, including restrictions on travelers.
“We are procuring more vaccines also. Hopefully we are going to get more from Government of India. But whether the Government of India gives or not we are going to spend on vaccines as that’s the only remedy”, he said.
About the new infrastructures being built for COVID patients, Rio disclosed that the 176-bedded COVID hospital at CIHSR is being constructed at the cost of Rs 30 crores, under Disaster Management.
He said with the current work force and additional human resources, CIHSR would be able to manage. He also said since they have all the operation theatres and other facilities, another hospital adjacent to the present infrastructure would make the working system expedient.
He said the infrastructure and CIHSR is reliable and so far they are doing well. He further said the hospital is affiliated to CMC Vellore and Emmanual Hospital, adding they have the expertise and whenever the expertise is required or technical issues arise, they are transferred or posted hence it is efficient.
Stating that the cost is very reasonable, minimum, Rio said they (CIHSR) committed that if any profit is made, it would be invested in Nagaland state, in other difficult areas and districts. “So far we are happy that they are doing well. They have the maximum ICU beds,” he added.
Expressing concern that more than 60% COVID positive cases are at Dimapur, Rio said it has increased the need for more oxygen and ICU. “I am aware that some people are still in ICU on ventilator for more than a month. Many are dying but many are also surviving”, he said.
When asked whether it was justified to provide equal resources to all districts, when Dimapur has a greater number of COVID cases, Rio said that Dimapur is getting more funds. “You are getting the lion’s share,” he quipped.
When asked to justify the COVID Cess imposed last year, the Chief Minister said, “We are a consumer society. We don’t pay income tax, property tax…and we are exempted. We know how to receive but don’t know how to give. Nothing is free, we have to pay for any service or anything that you require and the Government is trying its best.”
He further said in Government hospitals, particularly at Kohima and Dimapur, the Government is trying to take care of people, especially those who are below the poverty line, but those who can afford should pay.
“We are not putting burden on the common people by imposing taxes. We are trying to take austerity measures like last time and that little savings that comes we will try to handle…” he said.
He said in many States, payments and salaries were deferred, but in Nagaland, “We don’t have resources. From where we will get and pay the dues when it is accumulated?” He also said time may come when Government servants may like to contribute one or two day’s salaries for COVID care for positive people.
Replying to a query on the charges at CIHSR, Rio said the hospital’s charges are already lower in comparison to other hospitals. He said few years back, maybe Nagas didn’t go there but people from neighbouring states come to Dimapur and get treatment there. That shows that the expenditure for treatment is much less there, he added.
(Page News Service)