Covid 19 expenditure: Govt. paid for Rs. 251 Crores, pending liabilities are Rs. 148 Crores

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Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma gave a detailed account of the fund, amounting to 399 crore rupees for dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic in the State in the House today. Replying to a short-duration discussion in this regard initiated by members from the Opposition bench, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma informed that Out of the 399 Cr of expenditure, bills have been paid for Rs. 251 Crores and the pending liabilities are Rs. 148 Crores.

Presenting a compilation report, he informed that the state has incurred an expenditure of Rs 399 crores on various health and non-health related aspects of management of the coronavirus pandemic.

The expenditure by the Health Department, including Directorate of Health Services and National Health Mission, was informed to be Rs 271.2 crores. The Revenue and Disaster Management (SDRF) spent 23.7 crores, Revenue and Disaster Management (PM CARES) spent 3.5 crores, 7.4 crores was spent by the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, Rs 14.7 crores were spent by Chief Minister’s Special Grant, Labour Department spent 51 crores, Mining &

Geology Department (DMF) spent 8.9 crores, Community & Rural Development and Urban Affairs (SRWP & SUWP) spent 15.1 crores and Urban Affairs spent Rs 3.5 crores.

He added that Rs 103.8 crores was funded by tapping into various sources in addition to the state government’s own sources. The Chief Minister informed that the ‘key items of expenditure’ was on increasing testing facilities, setting up corona care centres, installation of ventilators, quarantine facilities for health workers, buying protective equipments, ambulances, sanitization, one-time cash support to stranded citizens and returnees, providing provision kits, relief to building & other construction workers, unregistered workers and on MLA scheme.

While replying on the floor of the house on short duration discussion tabled by the opposition, the CM said, “Despite the urgency and the unprecedented nature of the crisis, the expenditures were made carefully and following the due processes. Through the various COVID-related interventions we were able to reach out and support about 5 lakh individuals of the State, almost 15 percent of the State’s population.”

“Given that the pandemic is far from over and given the context of the second wave of infections and lockdowns in several European countries, I feel confident that this Government has made the right investments, which not only protected us in the last 7 months but should also keep us in good stead in the coming months,” he added.

While the opposition attacked the Government on the expenses incurred on dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, the Chief Minister gave a financial breakup of the expenses that were made to strengthen the health infrastructure.

“Since March, we have ramped up our RTPCR/TruNAT/CBNAAT testing capacity per day from 30 to over 2,000. As of date, we have conducted over 2.14 lakh tests and are among the top states when it comes to the number of tests conducted per million of population,” he asserted on the floor of the house.

“In the last seven months, we improved health infrastructure, provided generous relief to the most disadvantaged sections of the society, made funds available to our Hon’ble MLAs so they can take up relief works in their respective areas, and provided the best corona care facilities. In these extraordinary times of the pandemic, we rose to the occasion and did the thing that every responsive government has to do- prioritized the lives, health, and wellbeing of all the citizens affected by COVID and of those whose lives have been disrupted by the lockdown,” he added.

Terming that at the onset of the pandemic, the State had to be dependent on NEIGRIHMS for COVID19 testing and they were limited to 30 tests per day, however, State Government made the adequate investment and currently testing facilities are available in all the 11 districts of the State.

“Since the inception of the Statehood, we have not had a single Biosafety Level 2 category laboratory in the State which is required for testing viruses like COVID19,” he informed while giving details on the establishment of two such BSL 2 laboratories in Tura Civil Hospital and Pasteur Institute, Shillong.

“These facilities have conducted more than 52,804 RT PCR tests so far and continue to do more. These facilities will stay beyond COVID19 and the State will pursue them to get them converted to Biosafety Level 3”, he added. EOM