Opp MLA questions COVID expenses

SHILLONG: An Opposition Congress MLA has raised questions over the state government’s recent claim of having expended over Rs 115 crore in tackling spread of COVID-19.
The allegation of “misuse” of funds came from David Nongrum, Congress MLA from Mawryngkneng, even though there was no specific charges.
“We need to have an inquiry”, he said over the state government’s claim of having spent more than Rs 115 crore including Rs 36 crore from the Centre in its fight against COVID-19.
The MLA from Mawryngkneng on Monday said, “There has been a lot of misuse of the funds” without giving any evidence.
Terming the claim of Meghalaya government of spending more than Rs 115 crore as “something which is not practical”, Nongrum said that there are a large number of daily wage workers, who have not received any financial aid from the government.
He also alleged that though the government is claiming of providing a financial assistance of Rs 5000 to the community quarantine centres, in reality, such assistance apart from equipment like masks, hand sanitisers, have not yet reached all the centres.
According to Nongrum, in his constituency alone, there are five quarantine centres and neither the monetary help nor equipment have been received,” he alleged.
) “We need to fight collectively and it is not a time to make money…whatever we have we should give,” he said.
Stating that the state government despite its claims is still unprepared to handle the situation arising out of COVID-19, Nongrum said that the state government had a lot of time to prepare against COVID-19 and they kept on saying that they are prepared but when the first positive case came up, it showed that the government was not prepared.
Pointing out that over 10,000 stranded people had registered to return back to the state, Nongrum questioned about the claim of the government to handle all the returnees when it can an accommodate a maximum of 1000 people in institutional quarantine.
“If you look at the quarantine centre we can hardly accommodate the returnees. They are either kept at home quarantine which is dangerous and even handlers in the community quarantine do not have the knowledge or expertise to handle it”.
On the initiative of the Meghalaya Legislative Speaker, Metbah Lyngdoh, to get all the political leaders together to fight the pandemic, Nongrum said that the idea was good but the exercise became meaningless as none of the suggestions of the MLAs were taken seriously by the government.
The MLA also expressed concern that only twenty ventilators are available for the entire state while adding that the government should have bought more ventilators instead of procuring 25 additional ambulances.

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