Collective efforts of people, govt helping Mizoram overcome COVID-19 challenges: CM

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Aizawl, June 2 (PTI) Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga on Wednesday said collective efforts of people and the government are helping the state in overcoming the COVID- 19 challenges despite lacking adequate manpower and facilities.

Highlighting how the state is battling COVID-19, Zoramthanga, in his 12-minute-long video-recorded speech, said the way the government and the people are collectively fighting the Covid-19 is quite interesting as all communities, organisations and people from all walks of life are involved in it.

The chief minister said that when the state fought against the first wave of COVID-19 it was relatively tolerable and 'we could somehow manage to tackle it'.

'Then came the second wave, which is more problematic and burdensome', Zoramthanga said.

During the first wave of the pandemic, local volunteers in large numbers had stepped up round-the-clock vigil along the borders by setting up makeshift duty posts in the forests for several months even during the rainy season to prevent cross-border movement of people.

Mizoram shares about 325-km- long inter-state borders with Assam, Manipur and Tripura, and 828-km-long international borders with Bangladesh and Myanmar.

At the onset of the second wave when Covid-19 Care Centres (CCC) were fully occupied following the spike in the number of coronavirus patients, churches and NGOs came forward to the government's aid by offering their halls to be converted into Community Covid-19 Care Centres (CCCCs), the chief minister said.

'These Community Covid-19 Care Centres are managed and monitored by local people with their contribution much to the relief of the government,' he said.

Private nurses, retired doctors, healthcare workers and other unskilled people have volunteered to serve these CCCCs without any remuneration.

Communities, local people and church authorities are providing food and other facilities to the inmates (Covid-19 patients), the chief minister said.

Zoramthanga also said that many organisations, churches and individuals came forward to assist the government by contributing towards the Chief Minister's Relief Fund (CMRF) for Covid-19.

Even children contributed to the fund by opening their piggy banks, he said.

According to officials, over Rs. 23.61 crore has so far been contributed towards the CMRF, of which more than Rs 22.25 crore has been spent in the fight against Covid-19 till Tuesday.

Communities also came together extending help 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 hardship due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown, according to Zoramthanga.

Mizoram takes pride in the existence of hardworking volunteer groups like village task forces and local task forces, who maintain round the clock vigil to ensure that people follow Covid-19 protocols, the chief minister said.

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 resources.

Earlier, Zoramthanga had said that the state is facing a financial crunch due to a drop in the quantum of revenue collection at the Centre following the outbreak of Covid-19, which in turn has led to a significant reduction in the state's share of taxes.

He had said that the state's share of taxes had dropped by Rs. 1,500 crore during fiscal 2020-2021. PTI COR MM MM

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