Post Mortem

An open appeal to Governor of Nagaland

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 7/23/2020 12:59:56 PM IST

 Dear Sir,

With all due respect and honour, I would like to bring to your attention the fact that the Dimapur District Hospital has issued a notice that henceforth, tests for the Coronavirus will no longer be free, and that a sum of Rs.1500 will be charged for each test. Given the fact that each person suspected of being infected requires at least 3 tests to be cleared of suspicion of infection, leave alone the periodic tests required by those actually infected; it is tantamount to requiring each person exposed to the Coronavirus to pay a minimum of Rs.4,500.

This, to my knowledge, is illegal. Testing for a disease comes under providing a service; and a person pays for a service if, and only if, he requests for the service. A service cannot be made compulsory, then charged for. For when it comes to contact tracing for the virus, all those who come into contact with an infected person must undergo mandatory testing for the virus. Charging money for these mandatory services is illegal, since the tests were not requested for by the people who came into voluntary or involuntary contact with the infected person.

 Payment for testing for the Coronavirus would not be a big issue if transparency, regarding the more than Rs.1,000 Crores that the Government of India has released to the Government of Nagaland, to date, had been maintained. But far from maintaining transparency about the Central Funds, the Government is levying a Covid Cess on petroleum and diesel, the purpose for which remains shrouded in mystery. It seems that the Government of Nagaland, not satisfied with the central Funds, has decided to squeeze every penny possible from the pockets of the people of Nagaland by means of charging us extra for fuel and virus tests.

It is my firm belief that the Government of Nagaland is preying on the ignorance of the people of Nagaland; and that once the people are made aware of their right to refuse to pay; the Cabinet will try to pass an ordinance or a bill in the State Assembly, making payment for Coronavirus tests compulsory. In the event that the Government does make such a move, I, on behalf of the common people of Nagaland, seek the protection of your Office and request you to kindly refuse your assent to such an ordinance or bill.

People of Nagaland, as elsewhere in India, and indeed the globe, are suffering from the effects of the pandemic; mentally, physically and economically. In the event that such an ordinance or bill is contemplated by the Government of Nagaland, the refusal of your assent will be an immense relief to the mental and financial well being of the people of Nagaland. Thanking you in anticipation.

Kahuto Chishi Sumi, Convenor, Concerned People of Nagaland, Dimapur

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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