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MPCC demands free treatment, compensation for COVID victims, live tracking of oxygen

MPCC spokesperson Ningombam Bupenda Meitei

In a press briefing, through video conferencing, MPCC spokesperson Ningombam Bupenda Meitei raised several questions related to the current second wave of COVID-19 pandemic in the state. 

TFM Report

Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) on Thursday demanded the state government to ensure free treatment for the COVID patients in the state, universal COVID death certificates, fixed pricing of COVID testing in private labs, and to establish live tracking of Oxygen demand, supply and distribution in the state. 

Speaking to media persons through video conferencing, MPCC spokesperson Ningombam Bupenda Meitei contended that as the recent state government’s order on capping the costs of treatment in private hospitals will not be possible to give “dignity of life” to the poor and the needy during “war like situation” in COVID pandemic, the Manipur Government should ensure free treatment of all the COVID patients. 

On Wednesday’s order by the state government capping prices for COVID treatment by private hospitals raised doubts whether the CMHT and PMJAY schemes will be enough to cover for the expenses. 

“Will the BJP Government allow one individual to use the benefits of both PMJAY and CMHT? Can Rs. 2 Lakhs under CMHT or Rs. 5 Lakhs bear the entire costs of COVID treatment in a family of two or more COVID patients in one year,” he asked. 

Bupenda also demanded the state government to put in public the number of beneficiaries which have been treated for COVID under PMJAY and CMHT in the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic in the state, as PMJAY under Ayushman Bharat had already commenced from April 4, 2020 by National Health Authority, Government of India. 

He further sought to know who will bear the costs of COVID treatment for the poor in private hospitals when the costs become more than the financial limits given by PMJAY and CMHT. 

Bupenda also sought explanation why PPE kits costs are not included in the capping of the costs of covid treatment, and why the poor are “forced” to buy Remdesivir at Rs. 3,400 when the poor can’t earn even Rs. 1000 in a month during lockdown like restrictions in Manipur. 

The MPCC spokesperson also demanded the state government to ensure for “universal COVID death certificates” in which the cause of the death must include COVID so that the kin of the deceased could receive the compensation. Ensure that the state government gives compensation to all the COVID deaths, he added. 

Bupenda said that under Section 12 (iii) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, every family whose member died due to disaster is entitled for ex-gratia compensation of Rs 4 lakh. 

“The Ministry of Home Affairs, keeping in mind section 12 (iii) of the Act has issued an order April 8, 2015, by which a revised list of norms and assistance from the State Disaster Response Fund and National Disaster Response Fund was given”, he added. 

Since COVID-19 has been declared as a disaster and as per the order dated April 8, 2015, every family whose member dies due to disaster is entitled for ex-gratia compensation of Rs 4 lakh, he contended. 

Bupenda also mentioned that many PILs have been heard in the Supreme Court and High Courts of our country to ensure the fundamental rights, in the form of Article 21, Right to Life, for COVID patients during covid pandemic. 

“It appears that unless the courts intervene, the central government and the BJP government in the state are not proactive enough to tackle the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.

“Will the BJP led government in Manipur wait till the Hon’ble Supreme Court orders for the compensation of the covid deaths” he asked. 

The MPCC spokesperson also demanded the state government to ensure a fixed price, considering the poor’s pockets, on COVID tests in private laboratories or any relevant private establishments.

He also demanded to increase the number of daily vaccination percentage for the age group of 18-45 years in Manipur by “aggressively robust allocation” of vaccines in all the 16 districts of the state.

“Has the BJP government prepared to buy vaccine doses on its own under the Modi government’s liberal policy on vaccines? Or, Is the BJP government going to rely only on the vaccine doses which are to be allocated from the Central Government for Manipur,” he asked. 

Bupenda Meitei also demanded the state government to establish the live tracking of Oxygen demand, supply and distribution in all the 16 districts of the state, by additionally having an Oxygen auditing mechanism by a third party. 

He further said that Union Minister of DoNER, Government of India, Dr. Jitendra had an urgent meeting with all the health secretaries of the eight North East states of India. In the meeting, the minister referred to support given by Japan and UNDP for installation of Oxygen plants in each of the eight Northeast states.

“When will the BJP government share to the people of Manipur on the support given by Japan & UNDP for installing an Oxygen plant in Manipur? Has not the state BJP government officially been informed about such support from Japan and UNDP for Manipur by DoNER Ministry, Government of India so far,” he questioned

Stating that many District Hospitals, which are equipped with ICUs and ventilators, are not functioning due to lack of staff or even absence of staff in the hospital during covid pandemic, he enquired when will the ICU facilities with ventilators in District Hospitals become functional to treat COVID patients. 

About the video which went viral recently, where a body of an elderly woman was put in a tri-wheeler, Bupenda asserted that the state government must ensure that the COVID death’s last rites are performed with dignity. The SoPs for handling the dead bodies due to COVID-19 from home isolation or COVID care centres or from anywhere must be publicised to the people so that the government officials and the ground frontline workers are being briefed adequately to handle the covid dead body with dignity, he added. 

The Congress spokesperson also reacted to the recent public statement given by Lok Sabha BJP MP from Manipur (Inner) RK Ranjan who reportedly stated that Congress was not seen in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic. He refuted the MP that it was essentially the constitutional obligations of the ruling BJP government in the state to proactively fight, by taking along with all the stakeholders, including listening to the Opposition, in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, instead of blaming the Opposition Congress. 

“To reply to such false and baseless charges, it is necessary to remind the MP that Congress is never for cheap publicity. Congress believes in giving constructive criticism, including practical suggestions, during COVID-19 pandemic, and it was clearly shown in the MPCC president K Govindas’ letter to the Prime Minister Modi recently. It appears that the MP has given an opportunity, as a reply to his public statement, to speak out about the mismanagement of the incumbent BJP government in the state,” he asserted. 

Bupenda claimed that the BJP government’s lies is further exposed by the recent inauguration of the building – which was constructed as TB (Tuberculosis) Hospital during the previous Congress government – as COVID hospital, while the government should have honestly dedicated the TB Hospital to the people in such a way that the TB Hospital’s infrastructure could be used temporarily for treating COVID patients during covid pandemic. 

He further contended that whether the inauguration by BJP chief minister of Manipur was for COVID Care Centre or Dedicated COVID Hospital, itself is not clear. 

Bupenda also took a jibe at the BJP led Manipur Government stating that the CLP Leader and Opposition Leader O Ibobi statement that the present BJP government will not be able to finish inaugurating all the yet to be completed programmes of the previous Congress government in five years, is being vindicated by the recent inauguration of the original TB Hospital as COVID care centre.

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