Dimapur, June 5: The National People’s Party (NPP), Nagaland State has sought “justified answers” from the Government of Nagaland over what it alleged is the “present chaotic situation” in the State arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, which the party observed will lead to mass upheavals and unrest in days to come.
“Considering the already critical state of affairs we do not want Nagaland to suffer from a civil unrest all because of a situation that could not be effectively controlled by the government,” said the State NPP in an open representation to the Chief Minister of Nagaland.
The open representation signed State party president Dr Andrew Ahoto Sema and general secretary (org) Limanuksung Longkumer said the State Government was not well-prepared and very rash in bringing back stranded people of Nagaland from various states of India without properly ascertaining the State’s preparedness in terms of health resources, screening facilities, quarantine centres, fully functional BSL-3 & 2 labs, etc.
“The government’s lack of command and competency over was evident. The BSL-3 Lab at Kohima was only ready after the returnees started arriving. Why did the government not sanction enough funds (not only Rs.10,000) for those people stranded outside the state, which could have at least given some respite to those people till the state was well-equipped to bring them back,” it asked
The NPP pointed out that even after the returnees set their feet on their home soil, there was no respite to their agonies. It highlighted instances where the returnees were kept waiting for hours in the name of screening without any food or water, while most of the quarantine centres do not even have basic facilities available.
“There are even reports that some quarantine centres do not even have separate toilets. To top it all you succumbed to the pressures of few organisations and decided to send the returnees to their own respective districts. The act of sending the returnees to Tuensang without awaiting for the test results and also the manner in which a returnee who was tested positive was sent along with other normal returnees to Jalukie in Peren District were gross miscalculations on the government’s part,” it said.
On proper execution of SOP guidelines, the NPP said lower level officials and staff can only be guided in such a situation when the higher ups and senior officials use their wisdom and competency levels. “How can there be accountability and commitment when there are frequent transfers and postings of the top level officials of the COVID-19 Committees who are not given adequate opportunities to settle down and understand the logistics. Moreover, the government is giving priority in terms of testing only the returnees from the red zones but are least bothered about those who have come from the other zones which is again a gross miscalculation on the part of the government.”
Citing numerous reports, the NPP also claimed that there till date the samples of many of the returnees who are lodged in the quarantine centres have not even been collected for testing. “There is a backlog of around 1000 quarantinees who have not been screened or tested till now,” it said while demanding a logical explanation from the CM as to why such a negligent approach is being taken by the Government towards the returnees and why there is no follow up being done with regards to their health and welfare especially when the Chief Minister has already professed that everything is under control.
The NPP also expressed dismay over the total lack of concern for the frontline workers who have not been provided with proper facilities, and cautioned that in the coming days many medical staff might leave their job due to safety concerns.
To add to the apathy of the medical fraternity, the NPP said the Government has placed the ball of deciding the fate of the quarantinees in the court of the poor doctors who are already over-worked and overloaded. It cited reports that after the mandatory institutional quarantine of 14 days, the doctors are being directed by the Government to issue certificates to the quarantinees without even conducting the swab tests on them.
“In this context if any quarantinee is released without any tests and later found positive, who will take the blame? Here, the government has shrewdly passed the buck to the doctors for not taking the blame on themselves.”
The NPP also slammed the Government’s “total disregard and negative reaction to numerous criticisms that it has been receiving lately”. “As a populist and democratic government, your role should have been more people oriented but sadly, you have started being more autocratic and insensitive when people have started criticizing the government with the well-being of the public in mind,” it said while requesting the CM to give a patient hearing and act positively to the constructive criticisms “instead of tarnishing their images and victimizing them by using undue power.”
“Your government has enough avenues to resort to but sadly enough, you have chosen politics and self-gain over reasoning and humanity. And therefore we demand legitimate answers from your government regarding all the above and we need them immediately as we have to be assured that we are in safe and worthy hands at this crucial juncture. If you cannot prove your worth of being a competent leader during this crisis you have totally failed us and as such as we humbly request you to step down and pave a way forward for a people-centric government and leadership so that the public don’t have to suffer any longer,” the NPP Nagaland appealed. (Page News Service)