Dimapur, March 25: While lauding the ongoing efforts of the Central Government to curb the spread of COVID-19, opposition leader TR Zeliang has urged the State Government to adopt more stringent measures so that the lives of its citizens are protected at all cost and by all means possible.
Towards this end, Zeliang has put forth some propositions for consideration of the State Government in the interest of the public.
The opposition leader sought immediate attention of the State Government on the non-availability of testing centre for the COVID-19 in Nagaland, and urge the Government to apprise the Central Government for setting-up of a testing centre in the State at the earliest time possible.
Highlighting that in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, people from North-East India working and studying in metropolitan cities of the country are being subjected to the worst and ugliest forms of racial attacks because of their ethnicity and race, Zeliang urged the Chief Minister of Nagaland to take up the matter with the Prime Minister of India at the earliest to ensure that the Naga people living in cities are not subjected to more racial attacks.
He also aksed the State Government to immediately issue notifications directing authorities of Nagaland House located across the country to accommodate and take care of Naga people who are stranded and in distress in such cities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In compliance of the 21 days lock-down announced by the Prime Minister, Zeliang urged the State Government to seal all inter-state and international entry points across the State including movement of any person into the State (including entry on foot).
The opposition leader also expressed alarm that protective equipments made available by the Government are not sufficient even for the doctors and nurses, while many Government hospitals and health centres in the State do not have testing kits and thermal scanners; not to mention of the acute shortage of basic apparatus like masks, gloves, hand sanitisers, etc
“Thus, it is of paramount importance that the State Government look into these issues and make prompt necessary arrangements without further delay. Even if the Government cannot provide Testing Kits in every District Hospital at the moment, at least ICU with Ventilators should be provided urgently for the survival of patients before further actions are taken in such cases,” he said.
Zeliang also urged the State Government to make funds available to the implementing agency. “There is no budget provision for emergency procurement of equipment but impending situation demands that the State Government utilises what is at hand. For this to happen, the only way at this point of time is through percentage-cut from available resources which was passed as Vote on Account during the last Budget Session to meet the minimum requirement worked out by various departments. Such arrangement should be made before the end of the current financial year. It is the concern of every citizen to protect the lives of oneself and the entire population of the State and such diversion of fund or percentage-cut from available resources to face the impending challenge will not be condemned by any political party or civil society: so long the sanctioned funds are utilised for the right purpose and at the right time.”
Stating that fear psychosis is being created among the people particularly in rural areas on shortage of essential commodities, he suggested that the Department of Food and Civil Supply work out mechanism as to how distribution of essential commodities under the Food Security Act can reach the rural population with the help of medical teams.
Zeliang also hit out at the Government for utilizing private properties for quarintine purposes. “It is improper on the part of the State Government to have announced for accommodation of suspected person in private properties like Niathu Resort and Cricket Stadium at Dimapur since there is no required equipment and doctors in place. Furthermore, such initiatives at private properties cannot be made at the expense of the State exchequer while the rest of the State continue to face shortage of even basic gears and apparatus. Instead of spending public funds on private properties, Government hospitals and health centres across the State must first be equipped to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Only after feasible options are exhausted, if needed as a last resort, private properties may be utilised,” he said.
Expressing concern over the circulation of unconfirmed reports related to COVID-19 in social media, which he said “has become another disease”, the opposition leader appealed to the general public to stop circulating unconfirmed news. On the part of the State Government, a 24×7 Control and Monitoring Centre should be set-up with professionals from medical, information technology, Cyber Crime etc. as team members, he suggested. (Page News Service)