K Therie
Nagaland Pradesh Congress Party (NPCC) president K Therie. File image

The Nagaland Congress has urged the state government to include more eminent people from the state in the advisory panel for effective monitoring and controlling the raging Covid19 pandemic situation.

The Nagaland Congress said the belated move of the state government to constitute an advisory panel of experts to give its expert opinion on emergency response of Covid19 to the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) and State Executive Committee (SEC) is a “welcome step”.

“However, by concealing the order of constituting an advisory panel until it was revealed through a particular local daily, the state govt has exposed its own insecurities and inability to inspire confidence in the people,” the NPCC alleged.

The Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) said the “three names on the panel of experts, who are all from outside the state and will be communicating virtually, leaves much to be desired”.

A situation may arise when the advisory panel, bereft of understanding real time ground situation may become counterproductive in “our battle against this pandemic”, the NPCC said in a statement.

“Therefore, more number of eminent people from the state who can contribute effectively must be included in advisory panel for effective monitoring and controlling this raging pandemic situation,” it said.

NPCC said it is an open fact that the “state government has been clueless” in functioning and relying more on ad hocism ever since the pandemic lockdown began in March, 2020.

When the provisions of the National Disaster Management Act, 2005 was invoked for the first time on March 24, 2020, it automatically meant the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) under the Chairmanship of Chief Minister and the State Executive Committee (SEC) headed by chief secretary were to take full control of the extraordinary situation, it said.

“However, contrary to provisions of National Disaster Management Act (2005), an ‘Empowered Committee’ headed by an Additional Chief Secretary was entrusted for over two months,” NPCC claimed.

It was only on June 2 that the state cabinet constituted a High Powered Committee (HPC) headed by chief minister which has been functioning till today, it said.

“By deviating from the provisions of NDMA to have HPC instead of SDMA taking control, whether intentional or out of ignorance, the state govt has only exposed its shortcomings and ill preparedness from the very beginning,” NPCC said.

The state government has so far preferred to act through HPC rather than constitutionally mandated SDMA.

“This deviation from the provisions of National Disaster Management Act, 2005 at the top by state govt goes down to the level of some villages and colonies enforcing their own lockdown rules, thereby making a mockery of entire system,” the statement said.

The Nagaland Congress urged the state government to stick to provisions of NDMA 2005 through SDMA “instead of duplicating works through HPC, as decisions taken by HPC are not legally enforceable if one goes by the law”.

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