The Chief Secretary
Government of Nagaland
Subject: Suggestions on how to better manage the fight against Covid19 from a human rights perspective.
The International Human Rights Council (IHRC)- Nagaland State Board while appreciating the difficulty faced by all branches of government especially the sacrifices made by frontline workers we would like to bring certain issues to the notice of your esteemed office and on how the organisation feels they should be addressed.
The following are some issues we would request you to address :
1) We are saddened and outraged at the deporting of returnees from Chennai to Tuensang district without first furnishing the test results. Many Nagas were put at risk by exposing them to a potential outbreak which was a complete violation of SOP’s laid down under the “Disaster Management Act, 2005”. We feel that this was a grave violation of Human Rights and thus demand action to be taken against those responsible.
2) As a result of the above mentioned issue we would like to bring to your notice the following:
(A) The returnees quarantined at Sao Chang College, Tuensang have come in contact with the Covid-19 positive individuals. They have shared the same room with those infected before the results were known therefore everyone in the Quarantine Centre should undergo “re-test” again. This is necessary as the returnees were unaware of the presence of an infected and thus with very little social distancing there is every chance of more individuals being infected.
3) While appreciating the government’s decision to set up BSL-2 lab in Tuensang we request the government fulfill its promise without delay. But more importantly the government must make sure there is adequate supply of PPEs, ventilators and Hospital beds including sufficient manpower to run Covid 19 treatment facilities not only in Tuensang but all over the state.
4) With the outbreak of the virus the workload of frontline workers will certainly increase, in such a situation some frontline workers having underlying health issues are more vulnerable. So we appeal to the government take the necessary steps by transferring them to non-covid duties and replacing them with more resilient personnel.
5) The MoS for Personnel and Training under the PMO Dr. Jitendra Singh has circulated a notification on exemption of pregnant women officials and staff members. He further stated that pregnant women employees who are not already on maternity leave will also be exempted. Similarly persons with disabilities are also exempted. So we urge your authority to consider the situation and exempt them from all active duty.
6) Keeping in mind the concerns of female monthly periodical complications we would also urge the government to provide the female returnees with all the basic requirements during their 14 days stay at the Govt arranged Quarantine Centres.
7. The Govt should also provide sufficient basic necessities at the Quarantine Centres run by the government such as toiletries to ensure that strict hygiene is maintained.
8) The Govt should facilitate transportation to drop the returnees from the Quarantine Centres to the nearest town as many do not have private cars to ferry them.
9) There are reports of discrimination against frontline workers. We request the government to take strictest action as per the law against such discrimination.
10) Since there is a shortage of manpower, we would suggest the government to join hands with different youth organizations, unions, volunteers and prepare them as “Reserve covid-19 fighters”. With the understanding that they are provided proper training, PPEs kits and Travel Allowance (TA) to fight collectively.
11) We also feel that various governmental departments must be fully activated to carry out their primary tasks of ensuring the rest of the state is not adversely affected while lifting the burden off the Covid-19 District Task Force.
12) We appreciate the Department of Information & Public Relation (DIPR) for their effort till date. In relation to this we would request the DIPR to come up with more awareness in the form of maximum campaigns – videos, news, articles at all different Naga dialects, keeping in mind that a large number of Nagaland’s population live in rural areas. The Dept. can also include languages of the non-indigenous residence of Nagaland .
13) Ambulance and NST bus drivers are playing a crucial role at this hour of crisis thus their basic needs should be looked into and extra allowances given.
14) In order to prevent community spread we request the government to carry out aggressive compulsory testing of all returnees.
15). We appreciate the steps taken by the government in sending aids to the stranded Nagas through various Naga Student Unions to various states of India. But we would also suggest the government to provide certain financial aid to those Students Unions like Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati, etc. These places have Nagaland House and financial aids are provided to these house and they manage with it, but in reality the student union work at grass root level and they have been managing all by themselves. So we would request the government to look into the situation and do the necessary requirement.
16) The Relief Package which was announced for the stranded citizens of Nagaland have not been materialized yet. We urge the government to fast track the payment process so that their burden can be eased upto some extent.
17) As a bulk of Nagas working outside have returned and the ever troubling issue of employment have tripled along with the fact that no one actually knows how long the virus is staying with us. Thus in the midst of a looming unemployment crises we would strongly suggest the implementation of SARFAESI Act with certain modifications that it does not clash with Article 371 (A). This Act will enable the unemployed youths to start their own projects, giving a birth to Industrialized and economically stable self sufficient Nagaland.
Therefore, we the International Human Rights Council- Nagaland State Board request your esteemed office the above mentioned points into consideration which we feel will benefit everyone in the state.
AKAVI N ZHIMOMI
International Human Rights Council – Nagaland State Board
State Youth President
International Human Rights Council – Nagaland State Board
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