PM’s free rice, Covid vax announcements historic: Along

PM’s free rice, Covid vax announcements historic: Along
Imna Along with party officials addressing the press on Thursday. (NP)
Correspondent KOHIMA, JUN 10 (NPN) | Publish Date: 6/10/2021 1:22:19 PM IST

BJP State president and higher & technical and tribal affairs minister Temjen Imna Along termed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of free rice till November and free vaccines for all above 18 years of age as “historic” as no such initiative was undertaken by anyone earlier.

Addressing a press conference at his official residence at Old Ministers’ Hill here on Thursday, he claimed that free rice provided under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana would help more than 80 crore people in low-income category across the country, including Nagaland.

Welcoming Modi’s announcement, Along also termed the announcements as bold as they had been made a time when the whole country was reeling under the unprecedented second wave of Covid-19 pandemic.

Pointing out that 14% of the country’s population had been vaccinated till date after vaccination was rolled out in January this year, he said the Centre has now decided to provide free vaccine to rest of the people which, he added, would be completed by the end of this year.

He also referred to some of the Central government’s achievements, including receiving global support in response to India’s “Vaccine Maitri”, distributing 50,000 ventilators to various States under PM CARES fund, setting up 1,306 PSA oxygen plants (of which 1,213 were commissioned under PM CARES fund) and distributing 1,02,400 oxygen cylinders to States.

Along claimed that State BJP on its part was working in the frontline in whatever little way it could like providing ration and food packets to needy people, distributing masks, sanitisers, immunity kits, medical provisions, conducting cleanliness drives in all its 635 booths and handing out PPE suits to sub-centres, PHCs and CHCs free of cost.

“We need to be one step ahead of the virus in order to contain the pandemic. We should be resilient in our efforts and make sure we do not lose anymore of our beloved ones since we have already lost more than 400 precious lives to the virus,” he stressed.

The minister lauded the State government led by chief minister Neiphiu Rio, health & family welfare department led by S Pangnyu Phom and all frontline workers, including doctors and nurses, for their unwavering effort to contain the pandemic.

He further acknowledged the efforts of police in maintaining law and order during the lockdown and NGOs, churches and civil society organisations for cooperating in the fight against Covid-19.

Along, who is also a member of High Powered Committee, remarked that taking cognizance of the life threatening situation, the government was compelled to impose lockdown.

He said if people followed SOPs and other Covid-appropriate behaviours, imposing lockdown might not be necessary. He, however, cautioned people not to forget the dangers of the virus once the lockdown was relaxed and thus help increase its spread again.

To a query on internal squabbles within State BJP, Along pointed out that since the party followed its high command, the State unit was expected to follow whatever directives were issued by senior central leaders.

He commented that as long as the party high command wished, he would remain BJP Nagaland president. However, if the party’s central leaders deemed it otherwise, he said he would pick his baggage and leave. This was in reference to some sections of party workers who are demanding that he be replaced.

Along clarified that he had never served any ultimatum to rebelling party workers, although they had served him several such letters.

He went on to say that in spite of the discontent showed by some workers, he still considered them party workers and karyakartas. The presser was attended by other party spokesperson and State BJP Mahila Morcha president.

Meanwhile, the BJP leaders appealed to people requiring medical advices and food supplies to contact Covid-19 helpline number 98630 161767 that was run and managed by the party.

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