Mizoram, June 2: Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga on Wednesday said that the “collective efforts” made by the people have sustained the state through the tough times of the COVID-19 pandemic even as the state government faced manpower and facilities crunch.
Highlighting how the state fought against the onslaught of COVID-19, Zoramthanga, in his 12-minute-long video-recorded speech, said that how the government and the people are collectively fighting the onslaught of COVID-19 is quite interesting as all communities, organizations, and walks of life were involved in it.
He said that when the state fought against the first wave of COVID-19 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 that during the first wave of COVID-19, 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 forests for several months, even during the rainy season, to prevent cross-border movement.
Mizoram shares about 325 km of inter-state border with Assam, Manipur, and Tripura, and 828 km of international boundary with Bangladesh and Myanmar.
When the state government faced congestion in Covid-19 Care Centres (CCC) following the spike in Covid-19 positive patients with the onset of the second wave, churches and NGOs came forward to the government’s aid by offering their halls to be converted into Community Covid-19 Care Centre (CCCC), the chief minister said.
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“These Community Covid-19 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 that many organizations, churches, and individuals came forward to assist the government in terms of money by contributing towards the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund (CMRF) on Covid-19, which is solely monitored by representatives of churches and NGOs under the chairmanship of the state chief secretary.
Even children contributed towards the CMRF by breaking their piggy banks, he said.
According to officials, over Rs, 23.61 crores has been contributed so far towards CMRF and of this more than Rs 22.25 crore has been spent in the fight against COVID-19 till Tuesday. Communities also came together extending charity to the needy.
Food, vegetables, and other provisions are transported and supplied free of cost from villages to COVID-19 patients and other needy people in cities and towns, who are facing hardships due to the coronavirus induced lockdown, according to Zoramthanga.
He said that 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 COVID-19 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.
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Citing that Mizoram has a cherished regimented society, Zoramthanga said all important announcements were made by localities and villages through a public announcement system using loudspeakers.
The chief minister also mentioned in his speech that he recently wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a free vaccine supply.
He said that the pandemic has a far more serious impact on a small state like Mizoram, which has limited sources.
Earlier, Zoramthanga also said that the state is facing a financial crunch due to a severe drop in the quantum of revenue collection at the Centre following the outbreak of COVID-19, which in turn led to a significant reduction in the state’s share of taxes.
He had said that the state’s share of taxes dropped by Rs 1,500 crore during fiscal 2020-2021.