Shillong: The Meghalaya unit of Congress demanded that the state government treat every COVID death as part of a national disaster and provide ex-gratia as per the provision of the law notified under the National Disaster Management Act.

A virtual meeting was held under the chairmanship of Dr Mukul Sangma on Saturday, to review the COVID situation in the state and the performance of the state government in tackling the pandemic.

Congress also felt that the government’s decision to provide ex-gratia of Rs 50,000 to the family of the deceased who succumbed to COVID-19 is too less.

The Meghalaya state government had recently announced its decision to provide ex-gratia of Rs 50,000 to the families of those who died due to COVID-19 since April 1, 2021.

Meghalaya Congress felt the government is not prepared with adequate infrastructures to provide support for critical COVID cases, like Oxygen, ICUs and trained manpower to operate ventilators, etc. The party also expressed concern over the delay to set up COVID care centres and fully equipped COVID hospitals in the state.

MLA Miani D Shira said the party is concerned that the Asha health workers who are the first line of contact in this pandemic have not been paid their dues and incentives.

“We want the government to support the Community Isolation Centres with financial assistances for logistics. The government should immediately ramp up the health care facilities in other districts,” said Shira.

She added, “Government should make each healthcare centre in the districts and subdivisions functional including placement of manpower for both COVID and Non-COVID patients to decrease referrals to Shillong/ Tura and reduce the pressure of availability of beds in the hospitals in Shillong/ Tura.”

Meghalaya Congress said it would inspect COVID care centres and the health centres in every district from next week onwards to find out the facilities that the government has provided to these hospitals.

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