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Govt needs to adopt more stringent measures to protect the lives of its citizens: TR Zeliang

Kohima, March 25 (NE): The Opposition Leader and former Chief Minister of Nagaland, TR Zeliang took to social media to laud the ongoing efforts of the state government to curb the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. While adding few pertinent propositions for consideration of the State Government in the interest of the public, TR said, Government on its part needs to adopt more stringent measures so that the lives of its citizens are protected at all cost and by all means possible, said the notification on Wednesday, March 25, 2020.

There is no Testing Centre for the COVID-19 in Nagaland and at present, most tests for confirmation of the COVID-19 are despatched to a neighbouring Centre based at Guwahati. This calls for immediate attention of the State Government which, with all sincerity and Political will, must apprise the Central Government for setting-up of a Testing Centre in the State at the earliest time possible, it added.

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. The number of such racial attacks are reportedly increasing at an alarming rate and it is crucial that the Hon’ble Chief Minister, Nagaland takes up the matter with the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India at the earliest to ensure that the Naga people living in Metropolitan Cities are not subjected to more racial attacks.

Furthermore, the State Government should 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, the notification said.

In compliance with the 21 days lock-down announced by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, the State Government must seal-up all inter-state and international entry points of connectivity across the State including movement of any person into the State and entry on foot.

In this war against COVID-19, the participation of every citizen is imminent but most of all, Doctors and Nurses are to be in the front line. Therefore, proper protection equipment of high standards should be provided to them. No soldier can face war without weapons and ammunitions. Without them, a soldier is vulnerable and open to attacks in the battlefield. In the same manner, we cannot expect any Scientist, Doctor or Nurse to assist the populace with their technical knowledge alone. It is without doubt that no Doctor or Nurse will admit suspected COVID-19 patient in their Hospital at the cost of their lives without protective equipment.

According to information gathered from various District Control Room till March 25, it is sad to learn that protective equipment made available by the Government are not sufficient even for the Doctors and Nurses. Many Government Hospitals and Health Centres in the State do not have Testing Kits and Thermal Scanners; not to mention the acute shortage of basic apparatus like Masks, Gloves, Hand Sanitisers, etc. In most of the District Hospitals, there is no dedicated ICU with ventilators to treat patients. 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.

Fund constraint with the implementing agency will bring a death-lock even if valuable suggestions are received from within and outside the State. Therefore, to avoid such an impasse, Government of the day should make Funds available for utilisation. 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.

Fear psychosis is being created among the people particularly in rural areas on shortage of essential commodities. In this regard, the Department of Food and Civil Supply should 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.

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.

Circulation of unconfirmed reports related to COVID-19 in Social Media has become another disease and such rumours confuse people even further. On the part of the general public, individuals should stop circulating such unconfirmed news while 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, said the notification.

Stay Home, Stay Safe. Let us together break the Chain and bring an end to this pandemic. God Bless, added TR Zeliang.

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