NPP hits out at PDA government over handling of Covid-19 crisis - Eastern Mirror
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NPP hits out at PDA government over handling of Covid-19 crisis

By EMN Updated: Jun 05, 2020 11:53 pm

Dimapur, June 5 (EMN): The National People’s Party (NPP) on Friday criticised the state government’s handling of Covid-19 crisis, saying that it was not ‘well-prepared and very rash’ in bringing back the stranded people of Nagaland from various states without properly ascertaining the state’s preparedness in terms of healthcare resources, screening facilities, quarantine centres, and fully functional BSL-3 and BSL-2 labs.

In a representation addressed to Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, the NPP president, Dr. Andrew Ahoto Sema and general secretary, Limanuksung Longkumer, stated that lack of command and competency of the government was evident in bringing back the stranded people without a concrete plan of action before their arrival. The BSL-3 lab at Kohima was only ready after the returnees started arriving, it added.

“Why did the government not sanction enough funds (not only INR 10,000) for those people stranded outside the state, which could have at least given some respite to those people till the state was well-equipped to bring them back? Here we are really appreciative of those people who had decided to stay back out of their own free will and we feel that the government should adequately help them and not neglect them. What would have happened if various concerned institutions and organisations had not come forward to aid and rescue the government?” it read.

On Covid-19 funds, the NPP claimed that the government is not being transparent in the utilisation of the funds and instead has provided exaggerated amounts in the public portals.

Despite receiving huge amount of funds from the Central government, it alleged that the state government is still seeking for more assistance, even to the extent of praying for donations to the Chief Minister Care Fund.

The NPP also stated that numerous viral videos doing the rounds on social media platforms about the atrocities meted out to fellow citizens in Bihar speaks volumes about the government’s failure in providing basic care and protection to our people.

Even after the returnees arrived in their homeland, it said, there was no respite to their agonies and pointed out the instances, ‘where they were kept waiting for hours in the name of screening without any food or water.’

It stated that most of the quarantine centres do not even have basic facilities available and there are reports that some quarantine centres do not even have separate toilets.

“To top it all, you succumbed to the pressures of few organisations and decided to send the returnees to their own respective districts,” it read.

Accusing the government in sending the returnees to Tuensang without waiting for the test results and the manner in which a returnee who was tested positive was sent along with other normal returnees to Jalukie, the party said it was ‘gross miscalculations’ on the government’s part.

As far as proper execution of the SOP guidelines is concerned, it said the lower level officials and staff can only be guided in such a situation when the higher ups and senior officials use their wisdom and competency levels. “How can there be accountability and commitment when there are frequent transfers and postings of the top level officials of the Covid-19 committees who are not given adequate opportunities to settle down and understand the logistics,” it added.

The government is giving priority in terms of testing only the returnees from the red zones but are least bothered about those who have come from the other zones which is again a gross miscalculation on the part of the government, it said.

“Despite several requests and suggestions, why did the government take the decision of sending the returnees to other districts?,” it added.

Stating that in just few days the total number of positive cases in the state has reached an alarming number of 94, the NPP said that at this rate there is a huge probability that the number of positive cases may shoot up to more than 500 in the upcoming weeks.

Claiming that there is a backlog of around 1000 quarantined people who have not been screened or tested till now, the NPP demanded a logical explanation from the chief minister as to why such a negligent approach is being taken by the government towards the returnees and why there is no follow up being done with regard to their health and welfare especially when “you have already professed that everything is under control,” it said.

It also questioned the efficacy of the government in sending the test samples to Dibrugarh, Assam citing reason that the testing facility at Kohima has been over loaded.

Stating that there is a high probability that the samples might get destroyed during transit or even may not be properly tested, it said the government would answerable if any anomaly takes place.

It advised that the government can mull upon using the TrueNat Beta-Cov testing kits as an alternative before more labs are made functional. “Though, the TrueNat Beta-Cov is not highly dependable, they can at least provide some conclusive report based on which the tests may further be validated through the BSL-3 or BSL-2 labs,” it added.

On setting up a BSL-2 lab in Tuensang, the NPP said the government has made an ‘unrealistic promise,’ while pointing out that the BSL-2 lab at CIHSR is not functional till date. It urged the chief minister to make the right calculations before making any ‘lofty promises.’

It also stated that there is lack of concern for the frontline workers who have not been provided with proper facilities, which will invite many medical staff to leave their job due to safety concerns.

To add to the apathy of the medical fraternity, it said the government has placed the ‘ball of deciding the fate of the quarantined people in the court of the poor doctors who are already over-worked and overloaded.’

“There are reports that after the mandatory institutional quarantine of 14 days, the doctors are being directed by the government to issue certificates to the quarantinees without even conducting the swab tests on them. In this context if any quarantinees is released without any tests and later found positive, who will take the blame? Here, the government has shrewdly passed the buck to the doctors for not taking the blame on themselves,” it stated.

Stating that chief medical officers of all districts are not only handling the Covid-19 hospitals but also quarantine centres with limited number of manpower, which is adding to the work load of the medical staff, the NPP demanded the state government to immediately depute adequate number of doctors and nurses in all the districts.

It went on to state that at present, there are no adequate back up of doctors and paramedics, particularly in Dimapur, due to which they are not only overloaded but also there are risks of them being infected with the virus, it said.

The NPP also stated that government has also not taken up any step in hiring experts from outside to take expert advice on how to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. “The other face of the immaturity of the government is the total disregard and negative reaction to numerous criticisms that it has been receiving lately. As a populist and democratic government, your role should have been more people oriented but sadly, you have started being more autocratic and insensitive when people have started criticizing the government with the well-being of the public in mind. We request you to give a patient hearing and act positively to the constructive criticisms instead of tarnishing their images and victimizing them by using undue power,” it read.

“The NPP feels that your government has enough avenues to resort to but sadly enough, you have chosen politics and self-gain over reasoning and humanity. And therefore we demand legitimate answers from your government regarding all the above and we need them immediately as we have to be assured that we are in safe and worthy hands at this crucial juncture. If you cannot prove your worth of being a competent leader during this crisis you have totally failed us and as such as we humbly request you to step down and pave a way forward for a people-centric government and leadership so that the public don’t have to suffer any longer,” the statement added.

By EMN Updated: Jun 05, 2020 11:53:40 pm