Kohima: Opposition Naga People’s Front (NPF) has questioned the preparedness of the state in containing the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Nagaland. Although it also appreciated the government for taking necessary preventive measures, it pointed out areas of concern in the containment plan initiated by the government.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, NPF secretary general Achumbemo Kikon raised the concern of acquiring a virology laboratory, saying that Nagaland has no testing centres, Kikon reiterated the party’s demand to set up the sample-testing centre in the state. He recalled that the opposition party had demanded the testing centre by March 16 but that till date, no response has been received from the state government.
Although the party appreciated the imposition of Section 144 CrPC in Dimapur, Kikon said that the imposition must be “judiciously implemented” and that it should not harass the people. It also questioned as to what steps the state government has taken for students/travelers stranded and those facing racial profiling and racial discrimination amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Further responding to chief minister Neiphiu Rio’s statement where Niathu Resort and Nagaland Cricket Stadium were identified as quarantine facilities, Kikon pointed that the government should upgrade and utilise state-owned facilities, such as guest houses, circuit houses, tourist lodges, instead of opting for private resorts. He clarified that opting for private resorts should be made as a last option for quarantine facilities and not as a first option.
“This is something worrisome because the exchequer of the state is running on liability. If such is the idea being mooted out by the PDA government, then we also would like to question the motive behind,” he said. He added that it is not a time to play politics or do business.
He further said that private hospitals must be provided with facilities and must be aided to respond in case of any eventuality in the state. He said that the government must streamline the sale of masks, hand sanitizers.
Meanwhile the NPF has printed over 1 lakh pamphlets in English, Hindi, Nagamese and all local dialects and has distributed to all corners of the state to spread awareness about COVID-19. Kikon said that the printing costs were made from the contributions of the NPF legislators.