COVID-19: Zeliang calls for more stringent measures

DIMAPUR, MAR 25 (NPN) | Publish Date: 3/25/2020 12:15:04 PM IST

While lauding the ongoing efforts in curbing the spread of COVID-19, leader of opposition (LoP) and senior NPF leader TR Zeliang suggested that the State Government adopt more stringent measures so that lives of citizens were protected at all cost and by all means possible. In a communiqué, he also proposed a serious of measures for consideration of the State government in the interest of the public. 

Pointing out that samples for testing for COVID-19 from Nagaland were being sent to a Guwahati-based lab due to absence of a lab in the State, Zeliang demanded immediate attention of the government in this regard and press the Central government with all sincerity and political will for setting up a lab in the State at the earliest.

Alleging that people from the Northeast working or studying in metro cities were being subjected to worst forms of racial attacks in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, he urged chief minister to take up the matter with Prime Minister at the earliest to ensure that Nagas living in these cities were not subjected to such attacks. He also called on the State government to immediately issue notification directing authorities of Nagaland House located across the country to accommodate and take care of Nagas stranded and in distress in such cities due to the pandemic.

He also urged the government to seal all inter-State and international entry points across the State, including curbing movement of any person into the State even on foot.

He said in this war against COVID-19, participation of every citizen was imminent, but doctors and nurses were in the frontline. Therefore, he called for providing them protection equipment of high standards. 

Mentioning that as per information gathered from various district control rooms till Wednesday protective equipments provided by the government were not sufficient even for the doctors and nurses, Zeliang said many government hospitals and health centres in the State lacked testing kits and thermal scanners, besides facing acute shortage of basic apparatuses like masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, etc. 

He reminded the government that most district hospitals lacked dedicated ICU with ventilators to treat patients. Thus, he said it was of paramount importance that the government looked into these issues and made necessary arrangements without further delay. Even if the government could not provide testing kits at the moment, he suggested that at least ICU with ventilators should be provided urgently.

Though there was no budgetary provision for emergency procurement of equipments, he advised the government to utilise what was available as the impending situation demanded so. 

He explained, “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.” 

As the primary objective was to protect the entire population, he assured that such diversion of funds or percentage-cut from available resources to face the impending challenge would not be condemned by any political party or civil society as long as the sanctioned funds were utilised for the right purpose and at the right time.

He also asked Food & Civil Supplies department to work out a mechanism as to how distribution of essential commodities under the Food Security Act could reach the rural population.

Zeliang denounced the government for announcing accommodation of suspected persons in private properties like Niathu Resort and Cricket Stadium as there was no proper equipment and medical staff in place. Further, he reasoned that such initiatives at private properties could not be made at the expense of public exchequer while rest of the State continued to face shortage of even basic gears and apparatus. Instead of spending public funds on private properties, he demanded that government hospitals and health centres across the State be first equipped to combat the pandemic. Only after feasible options were exhausted, private properties could be utilised as a last resort and if needed, he added.

Flagging the issue of circulation of unconfirmed reports related to COVID-19 in social media, Zeliang appealed to general public to stop circulating such unconfirmed news. He urged the State government to set up a 24x7 control and monitoring centre with professionals from health, information technology, cyber crime, etc, manning it. 


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