Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga on Wednesday said the state has managed to fight against COVID19 with “collective efforts” made by the people even as the state government faced manpower and facilities crunch.
Highlighting how the state fought against the onslaught of COVID19, Zoramthanga, in a 12-minute long video recorded speech, said the manner in which the government and the people are collectively fighting against the pandemic is quite commendable as all communities, organisations and walks of life were involved in it.
He said when the state fought against the first wave of COVID19 it was relatively tolerable and the state could somehow manage to tackle it.
Then came the second wave, which is more problematic and burdensome, he said.
He said during the first wave of COVID19, thousands of local volunteers stepped up round-the-clock vigil along the inter-state and internal borders by setting up makeshift duty posts in the forest for several months even during rainy season to prevent cross-border movement.
Mizoram shares about 325 km long inter-state border with Assam, Manipur and Tripura, and 828 km long international boundary with Bangladesh and Myanmar.
When the state government faced congestion in COVID Care Centres (CCC) following the spike in COVID19 positive cases in the advent of the second wave, churches and NGOs came forward to the government’s aid by offering their halls to be converted into Community Covid19 Care Centre (CCCC), the chief minister said.
“These Community Covid19 Care Centres are totally managed and monitored by local people with their own contribution much to the great relief of the government,” he said.
Private nurses, retired doctors, healthcare workers and other unskilled local volunteers have volunteered to serve these CCCCs without any remuneration and communities, local people and churches themselves are providing food and other facilities to the inmates (Covid-19 patients), he said.
Zoramthanga also said many organisations, churches and individuals came forward to assist the government in term of money by contributing towards the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund (CMRF) for managing Covid19, which is solely monitored by representatives of churches and NGOs under the chairmanship of state chief secretary.
Even children contributed towards the CMRF by breaking their piggy banks, he said.
According to officials, over Rs. 23.61 crore has been contributed so far towards CMRF and of this more than Rs 23.42 crore has been spent in the fight against Covid-19 till Wednesday.
Communities also came together extending charity to the needy.
Food, vegetables and other provisions are transported and supplied free of cost from villages to COVID19 patients and other needy people in cities and towns, who are facing hardship due to the coronavirus induced lockdown, according to Zoramthanga.
He said Mizoram also took pride in the existence of hardworking volunteer groups like village task forces and local task forces, who maintained round the clock vigil to ensure that COVID19 protocols are respected by people.
These task forces are instrumental not only in maintaining Covid-19 protocols and lockdown rules but also oversee the affairs of their areas and helped the medics in contact tracing during the pandemics, he said.
Citing that Mizoram has a cherished regimented society, Zoramthanga said all important announcements were made by localities and villages through public announcement system using loudspeakers.
The chief minister also mentioned in his speech that he recently wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking free vaccine supply.
He said the pandemic has a far more serious impact on a small state like Mizoram, which has limited sources.
Earlier, Zoramthanga had said the state is facing financial crunch due to a severe drop in the quantum of revenue collection at the Centre following the outbreak of COVID19, which in turn led to a significant reduction in state’s share of taxes.
He had said the state’s share of taxes was dropped by Rs. 1,500 crore during the fiscal 2020-2021.
According to state immunisation officer Dr. Lalzawmi, as many as 2,60,105 people have been administered the first dose of COVID19 vaccine and out of this 52,129 people have been fully vaccinated till Wednesday.