The Naga People’s Front (NPF) Legislature Party said that it was perturbed at the “mishandling and unpreparedness of the Progressive Democratic Alliance (PDA) government of Nagaland in handling the rising Covid-19 cases in the state. “This government seems to have learnt nothing from the first wave which we had all faced last year,” the NPF said in a press statement on Monday.
The NPF then said that the “excuse” that other developed nations and Indian states are also finding it difficult to contain this virus should no longer be “parroted” by the government as a result of its “own inefficiency”.
Looking at the “grim state of affairs” in the state, the NPF Legislature Party said it “fears” that the people of the state will soon be faced with a huge challenge to even provide basic amenities for the Covid-19 patients. Taking the case of Dimapur, which has the highest Covid cases in the state, the statement pointed out that it has two designated Covid hospitals which are not sufficient to meet the demand for beds with uninterrupted oxygen supply for patients who require hospitalisation. “What could be the fate of other district Covid hospitals?,” the NPF asked. It then said that though total lockdown should be the last resort of the government, looking at the “indifferent attitude” and alarmingly rising positive cases in Kohima and Dimapur, the only option left to protect the people would be for a total lockdown in these two districts.
The NPF then said that, the Governor of Nagaland, taking cognisance of the severity of the second wave convened a meeting on April 21, 2021 of all the political parties in which the Leader of Opposition had pointed out that the second wave or the third wave will not emanate from within the state but rather the danger is from those coming into the state unmonitored from other states. “Therefore, it was suggested that all the interstate entry points, the railway station and the airport should be well equipped to manage the incoming passengers while also insisting on Covid negative reports for entry into the state,” it added.
The NPF then appreciated the efforts of the central government for providing the equipment for setting up of oxygen generating plants in the state and the Indian Air Force for assisting in lifting it to the state. “With the hope that the supply of oxygen would be greatly augmented once these plants are set up, it is pertinent to designate more hospitals for taking care of the Covid patients and also improve the infrastructure at a greater pace,” the NPF also said.
It then said that though the central government has been “magnanimously” sanctioning funds in the name of Covid, yet there is still no significant improvement in the health care facilities in the state. It said that this government seems to find enthusiasm only in attaining more personal wealth siphoning off funds and withdrawing from the state exchequer in the guise of additional funds for development thus rapidly increasing the burden of fiscal deficit in the state.
It then said that during a trying time such as this, the government of the day should be more proactive to tend to the needs and listen to the cries of the people rather than amassing wealth. “Further, the vaccination drive though not mandatory should be immediately carried out for free as announced by the Chief Minister of the state,” it also said, adding, “For every problem and obstacle, it is becoming a norm of the Chief Minister to go begging for funds which is unprecedented and speaks volume about the mismanagement of the state finances”.
The NPF then said that there was public hue and cry against Covid cess on petrol and diesel and 15% pro rata cut in 2020-21. The party further said that the same is the case with 20% pro rata cut in 2021-22 on all non-development funds for use in the fight against Covid. The NPF also alleged that the amount collected and the end-result on utilisation of such revenue generated at the cost of the common men is kept hidden. “This is against the very spirit of transparency and accountability. This government is an expert in collection and taxing the people but not in implementation on the ground to help the public,” the NPF added.
“Taking all seriousness of the impending third wave which is likely to be worse than what we have experienced thus far, we call upon the present dispensation to ramp up the required infrastructures in all the district designated Covid hospitals,” the NPF stated, adding, “A government is in place for the good functioning and well-being of the people and not otherwise”.