Protest marks visit of ministerial team

Protest marks visit of ministerial team
A banner being displayed during the protest in Tuensang.
Correspondent/DIPR KOHIMA, MAY 28 (NPN) | Publish Date: 5/28/2020 12:42:48 PM IST

In an effort at damage control following the controversy over sending off all quarantined returnees of Tuensang  even before test results for COVID was out, a ministerial team flew by chopper to Tuensang for an emergency meeting with Tuensang District Taskforce at Tuensang on Thursday. 

 According to DIPR, the meeting was chaired by DC Tuensang Kumar Ramnikant, who is also chairman of the taskforce and attended by H&FW minister S.Pangnyu Phom, I&PR, SCERT and village guards adviser Toshi Wungtung, H&FW principal director Dr Vizolie Suokhrie and representatives of ENPO, CKS, YTC, USLP, COC, All Wards Union Tuensang, church associations and Red Cross Society. 

Those who spoke focussed on the send-off of returnees to Tuesang from Kohima before COVID tests results were out and how this has   caused huge damage to the preventive measures taken by the district authorities.  They demanded setting up of BSL-3 laboratory at Tuensang at the earliest, besides highlighting the issue of manpower shortage to run the COVID hospital.     

Speaking at the meeting, minister of health and family welfare S. Pangnyu Phom called upon all to learn  from the incident and come together to fight the pandemic. 

He also acknowledged the contribution of civil society groups and churches in working alongside the district administration tirelessly. 

He said it was a time for all stakeholders to come together for the common cause. 

Adviser I&PR Toshi Wungtung shared the epidemiology and history of COVID-19 and remarked that it was unfortunate that the lapse had occurred.  

Replying to the grievances of the stakeholders, the H&FW principle director Vizolie Suokhrie said the State government had decided to install BSL-2 laboratory at Tuensang at the earliest after completing the formalities in this regard. However, he said two TrueNat Beta testing machines would be installed at Tuensang district hospital to conduct up to 40 tests a day.

Suokhrie also stressed on awareness and on the need to follow the guidelines to prevent spread of the virus as  COVID-19 infection was not a death sentence and the need to contain it. He exhorted medical staff to work hard to have zero mortality as all the patients were asymptomatic and in the high immune age group category. 

CM, CS admit lapses in sending off returnees
Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio and chief secretary Temjen Toy have admitted lapses on the part of the state government in sending the Chennai returnees to Tuensang even before waiting for results of test done for COVID-19. Informed sources said this was conveyed at a joint meeting held with Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organization, Eastern Nagaland Legislator Union (ENLU) and other senior government officials Thursday.
Sources who attended the meeting informed Nagaland Post that both Rio and Toy had expressed regrets for the unauthorised sending-off.
CCSU, others stage protest in Tuensang 
Confederation of Chang Students’ Union (CCSU) activists and others staged a protest against the treatment meted out to returnees from Chennai, quarantined at Kohima and who were made to leave for Tuensang Tuesday before result of COVID-19 tests were out and also on how the returnees were sent off with only three Marie biscuits and a small bottle of water.
The CCSU earlier held a meeting with the visiting ministerial team led by health & family welfare minister S.Pangnyu Phom and others. According to CCSU president Chingmak Kumchuba, the meeting with the ministerial team that also included I&PR minister Toshi Wungtung and principal director H&FW Dr. Vizolie Suokhrie was initiated by DC and SP Tuensang.  He said the returnees of Tuesang who had arrived Nagaland from Chennai on May 22 and quarantined at Kohima were sent off even before COVID test results were out and also after being given only three marie biscuits and water each.
At the meeting the union offered the visiting team marie biscuit and water to visiting team led by health & family welfare minister S. Pangnyu Phom.
Kuchumba also informed that the minister had apologized for the lapses and appealed for working together. Kuchumba also informed that all the COVID-patients were shifted to Tuensang COVID Hospital and their health condition was stable.
Kumchuba expressed disappointment at the way the State machinery handled the situation, when passengers who left Kohima around 3-4 p.m. were not served lunch. He said the returnees arrived Tuensang after 12 hour at 4.50 a.m. Wednesday in five buses . 
He expressed gratitude to Ao Senden for providing refreshments to the travellers at Ungma village gate. Even as the ministerial team were on their way to the helipad, activists of CCSU and some protestors showered Marie biscuits and some quarter bottles of water as a sign of protest.
The protestors carried placard some which read: “Shift the capital to Tuensang, we can shoulder every citizen of Nagaland”, “We are not second class citizens”, “Don’t appease us with Marie biscuits and a glass of water”, etc, as they demanded suspension of  officials involved for violating all safety norms and protocols. They also demanded suspension of officials involved for sending off the returnees after violating all safety norms and protocols.

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