Gangtok, 01 Apr:
Governor Ganga Prasad today convened a Special Review Meeting with the State Government on Sikkim’s preparedness against the spread of Novel Coronavirus, a press release from Raj Bhawan informs.
Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang [Golay] led the State delegation which included Health Minister Dr MK Sharma, Labour Minister MN Sherpa, Chief Secretary SC Gupta, DGP A Shankar Rao, Addl. Chief Secretary to the Governor Dr K Jayakumar, Principal Secretaries of Health and Labour Departments, Secretary of Health Department and other officers.
The meeting began with the Health Minister informing that as of date there are no Corona-positive cases in Sikkim and mentioned that the State was “fully prepared with adequate manpower and PPEs and consumables to meet any eventuality.”
The Chief Minister informed the Governor about the recent proactive and preventive measures taken by the State Government to prevent the pandemic from entering the State.
Students stranded at colleges and universities outside the State are being provided with a relief assistance of Rs 5,000 each and are advised not to make the effort to travel back, he informed.
He also informed the Governor about the letter he has written to all Chief Ministers requesting them to personally enquire after and take adequate steps to ensure the safety and security of Sikkimese students stranded in their respective States and has assured a reciprocal gesture from his side for non-Sikkimese students currently residing in the State.
Migrant labourers engaged at various industries and unorganised sectors in the State have been identified and are being provided with shelter and ration in order to stop their migratory movements within and out of the State, he further detailed.
Labourers registered with State’s Labour Department are being provided with the relief of Rs 2,000 each with more than 7,600 registered labourers having already been provided with this relief.
He further informed the Governor that pharma units in the State producing essential medicines have been directed to pay Rs 300 extra per day to the labourers/ workers working in the respective units through the period of lockdown.
Enough stock of rations, medicines and other essential commodities have been maintained and shops selling essential commodities are kept open and regulated for strict compliance of social distancing, the Governor was informed.
Meanwhile, in order to ensure regular consignments of health equipment and consumables and other logistics which need to be imported from outside the State, the Resident Commissioner in New Delhi has been authorised and was coordinating with the State’s health officials for supply and transportation, it is informed.
The CM stated that the State was receiving “ample support” from the Union Government and the North Eastern Council to meet the emergent expenses through respective departments.
The State also has necessary provisions of funds under the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for immediate relief and meet emergency expenditures.
He added that the State government was disbursing relief and assistance to the weaker sections from its own provisions as of now.
The government has also streamlined and regulated donations in cash and kind from various NGO’s through the district authorities and NGOs coming forward with donations are being encouraged to donate to the CMRF.
Since the State has sufficient manpower under its disposal, the distribution of relief and assistance directly by the NGOs and volunteers was being discouraged for compliance on social distancing guidelines, he added.
The Health Department is also preparing a manpower bank consisting of retired health practitioners and technicians whose voluntary services could be utilised to meet any eventuality related with the crisis, he added.
As an update, the CM informed that out of the over 4,000 people placed under quarantine in the State, 2,600 are still under quarantine while 1,600 have completed their quarantine period.
Drivers of trucks bringing in essential commodities from outside the State are provided with proper PPEs and the vehicles are being sanitised compulsorily, he added.
The State government has decided that it will continue to restrict the movement of tourists and locals in and out of the State at the border check points until the threat of the pandemic totally subsides in the country, the CM added.
As relief for the people, the CM informed that the Power Department has extended the last date for payment of user charges and other revenues to the department till 30 April even as the State Bank of Sikkim has announced a three month moratorium of payment of EMIs for all loans.
Following the briefing, the Governor handed over two cheques - Rs 11 lakh from his discretionary fund, Rs 1 lakh from his personal account, Rs 1,39,448 as one-day salary contribution from Officers and Staff of Raj Bhavan, to the Chief Minister towards the CM’s Relief Fund.
Further, the Zilla and Gram Panchayats of Navey Shotak GPU, the GPU adopted by the Governor, also handed over a cheque of Rs 10,000 and Rs 46,500 respectively, equivalent to their one month honorarium.
Zilla Member Chung Lhamu Bhutia and Panchayat President Tashi Doma Bhutia were present on the occasion.