Gangtok, May 30: (IPR) Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang (Golay) chaired a high level meeting at Samman Bhawan today.
The meeting was convened to review the present scenario of COVID-19 in the State and deliberated on various aspects related to the State’s response to the pandemic as well as to the future course of action post 4th lock-down. The meeting had the esteemed presence of Deputy Speaker SLA, Cabinet Ministers, MLAs, MP Lok Sabha, Advisors, Chairpersons Zilla Adhyakshas and Upadhyakshas, Political Secretary to HCM, Chief Secretary, Heads of Departments, DGP and senior officers of the State Government.
Chief Secretary, Shri S.C. Gupta in his opening remarks, presented an overview of the steps taken by the State Government to handle the COVID-19 situation in the State. He informed that all aspects, such as evacuation, screening, quarantine and testing are being handled with utmost efficiency.
DG-cum-Secretary Health, Dr. P.T. Bhutia in his brief address explained about the status of the testing for COVID-19. He shared the good news that RTPCR testing at the new Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratory at STNM Hospital will be fully functional from tomorrow. He informed that the samples of 53 secondary contacts of the COVID-19 positive patient which were sent to NBMCH have tested negative. Similarly, 40 additional sample tests have also reported negative. He stated that the dedicated team of doctors and medical staff will try their level best to complete all the backlog at the earliest. He also informed that the updates from Sikkim will be reflected in the ICMR website.
Dr. Bhutia further informed that the Dialysis machine in Geyzing is ready and will be operational very soon. This, he said will be a huge relief for Dialysis patients of the State.
Secretary Coordination (COVID-19) cum State Nodal Officer for Evacuation Shri Rinzing Chewang Bhutia in his address informed that most of the people have been evacuated from different parts of the country. He informed that as per the directive from the Chief Minister, Sikkimese people stranded in Maharashtra were contacted, and he further added that many people have chosen not to return to the State as they have resumed their economic activities in their respective areas. He updated that around 250 people who are willing to return to Sikkim will be evacuated in the coming days through a special train, after approval from the Government.
During the course of the meeting, an open house discussion was held wherein several suggestions were also put forth by esteemed public representatives and officers of the State Government.
After lending patient hearing to the points raised in the meeting, Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang (Golay) began his address by congratulating the Prime Minister of India and his Government for completing one year of its second term in office.
He stated that the State Government has been successfully handling the COVID-19 situation so far and added that the State is fully equipped to deal with any exigencies.
Speaking about the process of evacuation, he said that the State Government is preparing a special strategy to evacuate the people stranded in Maharashtra and Mumbai, considering the increasing rate of infection there. He appealed to the people to be patient in the meanwhile.
The Chief Minister maintained that the State is not out of danger, and there should be complete compliance of the lockdown guidelines. He added that this is the time for the people of Sikkim to be extra cautious and strictly abide by lockdown guidelines as done during the first phase. He announced that the State Government will put a complete ban on inter-district movement of vehicles and people from 1st to 15th June, 2020. He said that the intra-district movement will continue with the odd/even formula. Chief Minister said that this is being done to ensure complete safety of the people of Sikkim.
The Chief Minister further announced that educational institutions will not be able to resume from 15th June as per the earlier decision of the Government owing to the prevailing situation. He directed the Education Department to ensure that all the educational institutions in the state to be made ready to start functioning from 1st of July, 2020.
He added that College and University students who are stranded outside the State will not be allowed to return before 15th of June. He further added that the respective institutions will be requested to prepare their own quarantine facilities and the same will also be applied to all the pharmaceutical companies in Sikkim.
Further, the Chief Minister suggested that students from bordering States studying in Sikkim should be allowed to make their home state as their examination centre. He directed the Education Department to immediately prepare a proposal in this regard.
The Chief Minister reiterated that the commencement of RTPCR testing from tomorrow is good news for the State. This will ease the load being faced by the State especially with regard to the backlog of existing samples, he stated.
The Chief Minister also congratulated the Health Department for the completion of Dialysis Unit in Geyzing which will start functioning soon. He further informed that the Government has planned to start a Dialysis Unit in all the subdivisions each. He directed the Health Department to prepare an estimate of the requirement of testing kits for Dialysis.
The Chief Minister further informed that out of the six people in DKK Bhawan New Delhi who had tested positive for COVID-19, five people have fully recovered. He appealed to the people of Sikkim not to panic, and continue to abide by social distancing and all safety norms.
The Chief Minister also shared a few deliberations made by the State Government as per the suggestions of the Economic Revival Committee.
Speaking on the immediate challenges, the Chief Minister appealed to the people of Sikkim to be receptive to the new opportunities arising from the vacuum left by skilled and unskilled workers. He reiterated the need for the youth of Sikkim to grab the opportunity and vouch for a self reliant Sikkim. He spoke about avenues like homestay tourism, poultry and other areas which can be capitalized upon.
The Chief Minister also spoke on the recent landslides that occured in various parts of the State and informed that the Government carried out immediate intervention and sanctioned some urgent repair and protective work, as well as ex-gratia relief to next of kin who lost their lives in the calamity.
The Chief Minister also spoke on the initiatives being envisaged by the Government for the development of farmers in the State.
He stated that Sikkim is the only State which has ensured adequate facilities in all the quarantine centres in the State, inspite of numerous constraints.
The Chief Minister announced that the State Government has entered into an agreement with CRH Manipal wherein for the next three months, all non-COVID treatment, care and surgery will be carried out in CRH Hospital. He informed that Government Doctors will also work with CRH during this time.
In conclusion, the Chief Minister appealed to all the esteemed public representatives to ensure that all the guidelines of the Government is complied by with full sincerity by the people of Sikkim. He urged them to visit the quarantine facilities to ensure that adequate facilities are being provided to all the returnees.
Earlier, State Education Minister Shri Kunga Nima Lepcha along with Additional Chief Secretary Education Shri G.P. Upadhyaya, and Director Primary Education Shri Bhim Thatal presented a cheque approximately Rs. 79 lakhs towards the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, to the Chief Minister. It was informed that this contribution was the one day salary of teachers and employees of the Education Department, Government of Sikkim.