Congress demands govt attention to plight faced by people

Shillong, June 16: The opposition Congress has asked the state government to take measures to prevent the recurrence of the Covid-19 and address the misery and suffering faced by the citizens due to the ongoing pandemic.
After an inspection of the health care facilities in West Khasi Hills district, Leader of Opposition and former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said that Covid-19 has been notified as a national disaster by the Government of India, based on which, all states have been empowered to invoke the provisions of Disaster Management Act, 2005.
He said that this Act, 2005 also talks about the binding responsibilities of both the Union and state governments to take cognizance of the suffering of the people who are affected by a disaster.
Sangma however expressed concern while opining that the recent ex-gratia of Rs 50,000 announced by the state government for the next of kin of Covid-19 victims is not consistent with the provisions of the Act.
“Therefore, it (ex-gratia payment) has to be in accordance with the law,” he added.
The Leader of Opposition also suggested the need for the state government to work out modalities to take care of the victims of the current disaster since various economic activities have been restricted.
“There are many ways of doing it and they should follow as per the disaster management plan available with the government which has been notified,” he said.
Asserting the need to prevent the recurrence of the Covid-19 pandemic, Sangma said, “During the first wave we have talked about the likely recurrence of the second wave, which has taken place (now), was there preparation to really prevent the second wave?”
Further, the former Chief Minister also alleged that the government’s response to address the concerns related to the dislocation of various economic activities due to containment measures, have been very negligible.
“You have different strata from the economic perspective and people who have to work on a daily basis to provide two square meals for their families we have to understand their agony,” he said.
“Over and above the support from the Government of India, the state government should also resort to extending support to these affected families,” he further demanded.
According to him, there is also a separate chapter in the Disaster Management Act, 2005 in respect of the responsibility towards the victims of a disaster.
Stating that suggestions of the opposition should not be taken as political narratives, Sangma said, “It is not of that but it is because of the responsibility vested upon the government based on the Act which is being used by them to empower themselves to have so many restrictions on the daily activities and other activities of the public in general.”