TR Zeliang
File image of TR Zeliang.

Nagaland Opposition leader TR Zeliang said the state government needs to take more stringent measures to save citizens’ lives from COVID-19 at any cost.

Lauding the ongoing efforts of the government in curbing the spread of COVID-19, Zeliang made some propositions for consideration to combat the deadly virus.

The former Nagaland chief minister also said the state government must apprise the Centre of setting up a COVID-19 testing centre in the state immediately.

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“There is no testing centre for the COVID-19 in Nagaland and at present, most tests for confirmation of the COVID-19 are dispatched to a neighbouring centre based at Guwahati,” Zeliang said.

He pointed out that people from the Northeast working and studying in metropolitan cities of the country are being subjected to the worst and ugliest forms of racial attacks because of their ethnicity and race in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Saying that the numbers of such racial attacks are reportedly increasing at an alarming rate, he urged Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio to take up the matter with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the earliest to ensure that the Naga people living in these cities are not subjected to more racial attacks.

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He also demanded that the state government immediately issue notifications directing authorities of Nagaland Houses located across the country to accommodate and take care of the Naga people who are stranded and in distress in such cities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

National People’s Party (NPF) leader Zeliang said the state government must seal all inter-state and international entry points across the state and ban movement of any person into the state, including the entry on foot.

He said proper protective equipment of high standard should be provided to doctors and nurses who are in the forefront in the fight against COVID-19.

Quoting information from various district control rooms till Wednesday, he said the protective equipment, made available to even for doctors and nurses by the government, are not sufficient.

Zeliang expressed concern that many government hospitals and health centres in the state do not have testing kits and thermal scanners, not to mention of the acute shortage of basic apparatus like masks, gloves and hand sanitisers.

He said in most of the district hospitals, there is no dedicated ICU with ventilators to treat patients.

Zeliang urged the Nagaland government to look into these issues and make prompt necessary arrangements without further delay.

According to Zeliang, it is improper on the part of the state government to have announced accommodation for suspected persons in private properties like Niathu Resort and the cricket stadium at Dimapur since there is no required equipment and doctors in place there.

He said such initiatives at private properties cannot be made at the expense of the state exchequer while the rest of the state continues to face a shortage of even basic gears and apparatus.

“Instead of spending public funds on private properties, government hospitals and health centres across the state must first be equipped to combat the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

“Only after feasible options are exhausted, if needed as a last resort, private properties may be utilized,” Zeliang added.

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: bhadragogoi@yahoo.com