Top News

State govt failing in medical preparedness against coronavirus: SDF

Sunday, Mar 22, 2020 13:00 [IST]

Last Update: Sunday, Mar 22, 2020 07:13 [IST]

State govt failing in medical preparedness against coronavirus: SDF

Staff Reporter

GANGTOK: The Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) party on Saturday maintained that though the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) government has taken administrative measures to contain coronavirus but has failed in ‘medical preparedness’ against the pandemic.

Stating this to media at SDF Bhawan here, SDF spokesperson M.K. Subba said the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Government of India has been serially issuing medical protocols that each State government should follow in order to contain the spread of COVID-19. Among the protocols directed was to establish testing labs, ensure availability of medical consumables for coronavirus and provide protective gear for the frontline workers by using funds through State Disaster Relief Fund and National Health Mission, he said.

Subba urged the State government to include face masks and hand sanitizers in the Essential Commodities Act since there is acute shortage of this two medical essentials for the common man of Sikkim. He contended that there are many shortcomings in the measures taken by the State government to tackle the pandemic.

“The government should be disinfecting and sanitising all public places including the bazaars, taxi stands and bus terminus but seems focused only taking administrative steps like imposing section 144 of CrPC. The government should also be focussing on following the national protocols by using disaster management funds to set up testing labs, ensure medical consumables for the public and full protective gear for the frontline workers. The government is lacking in medical preparedness and only doing administrative measures,” said Subba.

Subba said the coronavirus pandemic has halted income generating activities across the world including Sikkim which has been hit hard by the impact on tourism sector. To provide relief to the people struggling to earn a livelihood at this hour, the State government must provide economic relief of Rs. 10,000 to the affected people after proper selection, he said.

The SDF spokesperson said party president and former Chief Minister Pawan Chamling would be highlighting these coronavirus-related issues in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly during the budget session which starts from Monday.

Our party president was the first to demand ban on entry of tourists and closure of schools as a preventive measure against coronavirus. “Chamling is the most experienced administrator in the State having served as the Chief Minister for 25 years. Through his leadership, the SDF has ordered one lakh hand sanitizers and one lakh face masks which we will distribute to the people of Sikkim,” said Subba.

Subba, regarding the upcoming Budget Session, said the SKM government must abandon its excuse of ‘just having start running the government’. A government cannot be an infant or growing up, it has to start delivering on its promises from day one, he said.

The SDF spokesperson demanded the SKM government to give clarification on the issue of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register for Citizens, which he maintained, has already been extended into Sikkim. Our leader will be raising this issue in the Assembly and the State government must give a clarification in the House, he said.

“Chief Minister P.S. Golay had announced that there would be no CAA and NRC in Sikkim but both have been already implemented in Sikkim since last December. The State government did not attend a meeting of Northeastern States called by Union Home minister Amit Shah before the Citizenship Amendment Bill was tabled in the Parliament and consequently, missed out the exemption as given to other Northeastern States,” said Subba.

Considering all these, the lives of people of Sikkim are under threat due to lack of medical preparedness of the State government and their existence is also under threat due to the NRC and CAA, said the SDF spokesperson. He demanded the State government to enact its own legislation regarding citizenship as done by other Northeastern States to avoid NRC.

Subba also commented on the buzz circulating in social media regarding Health minister Dr. M.K. Sharma and the alleged assault on him on Friday upon his return to the State. “What is happening in Sikkim? How can a minister be attacked in broad daylight? What kind of political culture is this and where are the police now who are quick to arrest SDF workers on petty charges? The State government must issue a clarification. We strongly condemn the attack on the minister,” he said.

SDF spokesperson J.B. Darnal condemned the decision of the Sikkim State Legislative Assembly Secretariat to bar media from covering the Budget Session with the reason given as a coronavirus precaution. If the State government can bar a limited number of media persons from the Assembly on the pretext of coronavirus then what about those hundreds of workers working the pharma factories?, he questioned. Or are they are afraid that their misdeeds would be exposed in public through media coverage of the Assembly proceedings?, he further questioned. The SKM government must not do politics over coronavirus, he said.

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi