Govt policy on Covid-19 a failure: Hemanta

STAFF REPORTER
IMPHAL, 8th Aug: Considering that the state government's policy for combating the Covid-19 pandemic has been a massive failure, the Chief Minister's solution of appealing to people to boost their immunity or enforcing lockdown every now and then is no longer feasible. Instead, a cabinet sub-committee should be formed which could work in every aspect possible, Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) vice president Moirangthem Hemanta has stated.
Addressing a press conference at Congress Bhawan here Saturday, Hemanta observed that despite the efforts being made to control the pandemic in the state, the rising number of cases has proven that the existing measures are not effective. The state, which recorded only 1-2 cases in the initial months, is now completely overwhelmed by the pandemic.
The state government's Joint Committee on Covid-19 is ineffective as it does not have the power to take an immediate decision or action. Instead, cabinet sub-committees on conduct of mass testing, providing essential items to people, inspection of Covid Care centres and addressing the grievances of Covid warriors could be formed to make the entire process as efficient as possible. Cabinet meetings should be convened regularly to track the progress and issues brought up by the cabinet sub committees. However, the existing Covid-19 committee is behaving more like a political committee, he remarked.
Stating that the appeals of the CM, DMs and SPs are not the solution to the pandemic since the district and grassroots levels are not working under a singular system, Hemanta stressed the need for mass testing.
A TrueNat machine roughly costs about Rs 5 lakh and can test about 30 samples in one hour. Although there have been reports of the machines provided to some hill districts, there is no report of one being provided in any of the districts in the valley. If the funds from NEC and other sources were to be utilised in procuring the machines, it could alleviate some of the testing issues faced in containment zones, considering many people who were in contact with positive patients in virus zones are yet to be tested, Hemanta pointed out. "The state has a high level of people participation compared to its counterparts. As such, Panchayats, local clubs and Anganwadi workers could be utilised at the grassroots level for more efficiency", he asserted.
Regarding the complaints of providing inadequate diet at Covid Care Centres, the vice president said that it is a sign proving that the state's system has failed miserably. The government should make long term plans instead of making compromises and agreeing to temporary arrangements, he contended.
Hemanta further suggested the government to set up or augment requisite infrastructure keeping in mind the future requirement instead of just setting up quarantine centres (QCs) and Covid care centres (CCCs) in schools. For example, the CCC proposed at Khuman Lampak Sports Complex could be converted into a hospital for sports player in future, making it the only athletes' hospital in the country.
"The government should try to understand why the people are stepping out of their homes despite the lockdown. It could engage mobile van services in all the districts which will allow people to buy all the necessary items such as medicines, groceries, agricultural items, etc., right at their doorsteps, thereby reducing the number of people coming out in the open", he added.
Additionally, the state government should have opened the helpline number in this regard since day one of the pandemic, instead of just introducing it now when the state is in dire condition, he remarked.


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