Itanagar: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Monday requested the Central government to enhance the state’s quota of COVID-19 vaccine as the state is yet to vaccinate at par with its per-day capacity.
Participating in the virtual meet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chief Ministers of North-eastern states, Khandu said that while the state can vaccinate 15,000 people per day, at present, it is vaccinating only 10,000.
He also reminded that the percentage of Arunachal’s vaccine wastage is nil.
“As we have been optimally utilising our quota of vaccines with zero wastage and our capacity is to vaccinate 5,000 more people per day, our quota may be increased from the present,” he requested the new Union Health Minister Mansukh L Mandaviya.
On the state’s vaccination drive, Khandu said health workers especially in the rural areas supported by the administration are doing a commendable job. He informed that many vaccination teams had to travel on foot in difficult terrains and weather conditions to vaccinate people in far-flung areas.
He, however, maintained that the task at hand is not easy or smooth during the monsoons.
“Roads are blocked, bridges have collapsed. Yes, connectivity is a major challenge, and our people are living up to it,” Khandu said.
Khandu also admitted internet connectivity as another big challenge, especially in interior areas.
“Poor internet connectivity in rural districts is affecting uploading of data and report to the centralised ICMR portal on daily basis. On average, our data is uploaded after four days, and this has resulted in wrong conclusions by ICMR. As per the ICMR portal, Arunachal’s positivity rate today is 16.2. But our data – average of last one week – shows this at 8%,” he explained.
Thanking the Centre headed by Modi, Khandu said well-planned interventions at the right times by the Prime Minister has successfully controlled the pandemic, which could have been worse.
He said Arunachal Pradesh did not have a single oxygen bed when the corona outbreak began, but today, the state has about 1000 oxygen beds ready.
“We have enough oxygen beds. Fortunately, the bed occupancy rate is only 8% as of now. Thanks to PMCares and UNDP, we have enough oxygen plants, cylinders, ventilators, etc.,” he informed.
Acknowledging the Centre’s concern on increasing COVID cases in the North East, Khandu said that very soon, he will convene a meeting of the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA). He said the deputy commissioners have been empowered to decide action on their own as per the situation in their respective districts. He, however, said that as it has not controlled the spread of the virus, SDMA will have to intervene and decide further course of action.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister expressed optimism that the connectivity issue along with others like shortage of ambulance, testing kits, up-gradation of rural health infrastructure, etc will be taken care of under the Centre’s latest package of Rs 23,000 crore.
The virtual meeting was attended by Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and MoS PMO Dr Jitendra Singh.
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