Kohima: Just two days after the Naga People’s Front (NPF) accused the Nagaland government of carelessly handling the first COVID-19 or coronavirus patient from the state, the opposition party has once again slammed chief minister Neiphiu Rio-led People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) government saying that the government is “unable to tackle the situation”.
While asking Rio to pave way for an alternative arrangement, the NPF also said that health minister S Pangnyu Phom must “step down on moral grounds” for failing “miserably”.
“We all are aware that the governor of the state has once again stepped in to take control of the present situation itself; this has proven without any reasonable doubt the PDA government is unable to tackle the situation,” said the NPF through a press communiqué on Thursday, coming as a response to the review meeting chaired by Nagaland governor RN Ravi on Tuesday where the governer has suggested the creation of a “war room” to have integrated verticals on health logistics, health services, availability of essential commodities, law & order enforcement relating to COVID-19.
The party said that the CM and the health minister should be playing a “major role at this time of crisis”. “This is because, public health and sanitation; hospitals and dispensaries is a state subject,” it added. NPF also pointed out how the Assam government is responding to the present pandemic by providing all necessary requirements and importing medical kits from outside the country without depending on the Centre.
“Whereas, Nagaland government is receiving huge relief fund specifically to tackle the Covid-19 but is miserably failing. The Covid-19 is an infectious disease and it is well within the state list and therefore it is the duty of the state Government to provide good health care to each citizen even without the assistance of the Central government,” the statement said.
It said that taking into account, the NPF said that minister Phom “must step down on moral ground since he has failed miserably to tackle /handle the present coronavirus pandemic assignment in the state as Minister in-charge”. The party also reiterated that CM Rio “should gracefully pave way for an alternative arrangement if he feels that he is unable to tackle the situation”.
The opposition party also questioned the “gag order” issued by the chief secretary which warned unauthorised government functionaries of giving interviews and statements to the media which claimed that a lot of confusion was being created in the minds of the people through media reports based on interviews and statements given by government functionaries who are not authorised to speak on behalf of the Departments. “Is the ‘gag order’ a right act in a democratic form of society where grievances are not suppressed?” it questioned.
The party then suggested that a certified quality laboratory should be immediately installed along with trained technicians specialized for the sophisticated COVID-19 test. “If these are not followed the testing will give wrong results and create more confusion. The state labs if installed should properly coordinate with any reputed national institute for confirmatory test,” it added. It said that sufficient supply of certified PPE kits must be provided to the frontline workers and that all kinds of medicines should be in stock throughout the state.
Further, Zion hospital where the first COVID-19 patient was initially admitted continue to be locked down, it said. It must be sanitized and be declared as a safe zone within 24 hours in order to let the needy people avail of medical aid from the hospital, it said. It concluded that the state government must ensure the availability of essential commodities especially in far-flung villages and regulate price hoarding of essential commodities.