Nagaland spent about Rs 139 crores in total to fight COVID-19; CM Rio

Nagaland spent about Rs 139 crores in total to fight COVID-19; Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio

Kohima, August 13 (NEx): Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio in the 6th Session of the 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) on COVID-19 situation in Nagaland, said, despite Nagaland being a revenue deficit State, the government has spent about Rs 139 crores in total to fight COVID-19, out of which the State Government from its own sources has spent about 112 crores.

Full statement of CM Neiphiu Rio on COVID-19 Pandemic in the State during the 6th Session of the 13th NLA;

COVID-19 Pandemic has swept the world including our country in the last 6 months infecting millions of people and causing thousands of deaths. Our State, like the rest of the country, has also been affected. However, by the grace of God, Nagaland remained relatively free from the Novel Corona virus in the initial phase giving us precious time to prepare ourselves.

As of yesterday, we have 3118 positive cases, out of which 1427 are from the armed forces, 1115 are returnees, 319 are from contact tracing and 203 from the frontline workers. So far, there are no cases where we cannot trace the source and hence the Health department is of the view that there is no community transmission in Nagaland.

Though we had started preventive and preparatory measures from January onwards, we went into a full disaster management mode from March 18, 2020 when the provisions of Disaster Management Act 2005 were invoked in the State. Since then, our frontline workers, doctors and nurses, district administration and police, NSDMA, Municipal authorities, other essential services departments are working 24×7 to deal with multiple challenges brought by the Pandemic.

They are working in close coordination with Tribal Hohos, Mass based civil society organizations, Church organizations and countless volunteers who are giving their invaluable services to handle the crisis. We thank them all. In fact, the robust response to this challenge by our people once again proves the effectiveness of our community spirit and strength. It also gives us hope that no challenge is big enough when the people resolve to act with unity of purpose.

We have focussed our attention on improving and upgrading the health infrastructure as well as creating and running quarantine centres, COVID hospitals and COVID Care centres. We have not only created sufficient testing capacities within the state in record time, we have also substantially augmented the number of doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel besides roping in private hospitals to supplement the government effort in dealing with the crisis.

We are a revenue deficit State. We do not have enough resources. But this has not stopped us from doing whatever we could do for taking all possible steps to combat COVID-19 and to keep our people safe. For improving our medical infrastructure and putting in place systems, equipments and manpower for winning the battle against the pandemic, we have spent more than 62 crores and out of this the assistance that we have got from Govt of India and other sources is only about Rs 10 crores. The remaining about Rs 52 crores is all from the State’s own resources.

Getting resources has been tough given our overall constraints and reduction in the revenues due to pandemic and lockdown. We had to take several measures to mobilize additional revenue. We cut down non essential expenditure by 15%. We also mobilize additional revenue by levying COVID cess of Rs 5 and Rs 6 per litre on diesel and petrol. But we have done all this in the best interest of our people.

As regards, various other non-medical interventions like relief to stranded people, distribution of food and dry rations to migrants, needy people; preparation of quarantine centres and the entire quarantine arrangements, transport arrangements for bringing our people back, IEC activities etc, the total expenditure stands at around Rs 74 crores now, and here also the assistance from Government of India is only about 14 crores. The total expenditure taking both the medical and non medical interventions comes to about Rs 139 crores, out of which the State Government from its own sources has spent about 112 crores (this includes about 3.35 crores from CMRF).

In conclusion, I would like to stress that the Government has taken all possible measures to deal with this unprecedented health crisis in living memory. In fact, our response has been much better than many other more resourceful states and many of the initiatives have been a model for other states to follow’.

Through the August house, I reassure the people that the Government is doing all it can to prevent and control the COVID-19 Pandemic and so far we have succeeded to a great extent barring a few unfortunate incidents. I am sure, with the support of the people as Team Nagaland, we will overcome this crisis in the weeks and months to come.

Therefore, I would once again appeal to the people not to panic and not to stigmatize those who might unfortunately get infected nor our frontline workers who are selflessly working day and night to keep us safe from the disease. I also appeal to the people to take all necessary health precautions at individual, family and community levels and follow the government advisories issued from time to time in this regard – unquote.