Tripura opposition leader and former CM Manik Sarkar had alleged that the state has shortage of PPEs and medical kits

Agartala: Soon after Opposition leader and former chief minister Manik Sarkar expressed his dissatisfaction over the decision of invoking Essential Services Management Act (ESMA) in Tripura, the BJP-IPFT state government refuted his statement.

“The first and foremost duty of the state government is any service connected with maintaining public health and sanitation, including hospitals and dispensaries and conduct of postmortem, is essential for securing public safety and accordingly, these services are declared essential,” state minister Ratan Lal Nath said.

ESMA has been imposed with a noble objective of ensuring uninterrupted health services to people at this hour of crisis, Nath said. “Any strike in this sector by any group at this critical time cannot be justified. By the ESMA order, the only strike by any group of health workers or any person providing service to health institutions has been prohibited. They can air their grievances, if any, through proper channels even now,” he added.

“The first priority is the safety of the people and we cannot compromise with that at any cost. The ESMA bill was passed in the assembly in September last year itself but we did not apply,” Nath said.

Nath also said that the allegations of having a shortage of PPE and other medical kits are baseless as the state has sufficient stock and some are in transit.

Speaking at a press conference, Nath said that Sarkar has no idea about the functioning and use of the personal protective equipment (PPE). “Sarkar must consult with some of the health staff to clear his doubts,” Nath said.

Giving details of the availability of stocks, Nath said that at present the state has enough PPEs. There are 4,525 PPEs in Tripura at present. Additionally, 8,000 PPE kits have been ordered from HLL, he added.

“There is absolutely no shortage of PPE at present. Any rumour of inadequacy of the availability of PPE will unnecessary spread panic among people and health workers. There is also enough availability of other medical protection items like gloves, masks, sanitizers, etc, in the state. There is a regular supply of these items by different suppliers which are being transported by cargo planes. PPE kits are required for only those health workers who come in contact with COVID-19 patients,” Nath added.

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