New Delhi, May 22 (PTI) Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Saturday appealed to people to turn the COVID-19 vaccination drive into a mass movement in Kashmir and said everybody, rising above political and ideological differences, should come together to fight the pandemic.
In an interaction with political leaders and public activists from Kashmir, he said a successful vaccination campaign in the Valley will send a positive message across the country.
Elected representatives, social activists, religious heads and senior leaders can play a vital role in turning the vaccination drive launched by the Modi government against Covid into a mass movement, Singh, who is the minister of state for personnel, said.
'Rising above political and ideological differences, it is the responsibility of all of us to save the paradise of Kashmir by unitedly fighting the onslaught of Covid,' he said.
Singh appreciated the manner in which the civil society in the Kashmir Valley was working in close unison with the local administration, a statement issued by the Personnel Ministry said.
The minister said he had advised all district collectors of Kashmir to keep public representatives on board in the collective fight against the pandemic.
Singh reiterated that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is taking personal interest in monitoring the situation across the country, including Kashmir.
'Whenever required, the prime minister reaches out to district administrations and also the medical fraternity, and ensures that every requirement is met without losing time,' he added.
Unfortunately, the Kashmir Valley was confronted with the COVID-19 pandemic around the time of the Eid festival, spring season and ensuing Shri Amaranth Yatra.
He hoped that with collective efforts and determined will, it will be possible to overcome this calamity and return to happier times.
The minister said he has instructed district collectors in Kashmir to rope in community leaders in organising people-friendly vaccination camps at the earliest and added that sufficient doses of vaccine will be made available soon.
Singh, who is the Lok Sabha member from Jammu and Kashmir's Udhampur constituency, informed that necessary instructions have been issued for establishing free tele-consultation facilities in a big way for rural areas and for patients in home isolation.
NGOs, youth groups and party functionaries can organise tele-consultation in community health centres or in panchayat bhawans by following all Covid protocols, he said, adding that professional guidance will also blunt the self-styled remedies being forwarded on social media platforms.
Responding to some of the issues flagged by leaders, Singh informed that from May 24, walk-in-interviews will start for recruitment of medical staff.
He also advised that in the meanwhile, post-graduate and final-year undergraduate medicine students and nursing staff may be engaged at government medical colleges and other associated hospitals to fight the problem of lack of human resource.
Singh also called for a short-term training programme for operation of ventilators, the statement said.
The minister said that he is regularly in touch with the administration in different districts as well as authorities of all government medical colleges in both the regions of Jammu and Kashmir, including the Sher-I-Kashmir Institute of Medical Science (SKIMS) in Soura.
Responding to the concerns about treatment of non-Covid critical patients, mainly cancer patients requiring chemo doses and dialysis for kidney patients, Singh said that efforts are being made to earmark beds for such patients at the Government Medical College in Srinagar and at SKIMS.
The participating leaders thanked the Union minister for sending Covid-related material to Kashmir and demanded more consignments for distribution in other districts, the statement said.
This week itself, Singh had flagged off separate consignments of Covid-related material for the Union Territory's two capital cities Jammu and Srinagar. These included separate kits containing face masks, sanitisers and other accessories.
Dr Rafi, Mohammed Anwar Khan, Darakhshan Andrabi, Altaf Thakur, Manzoor Bhat, Ghulam Ahmad Mir, Bilal Parray, Aarif Raza, Ali Mohammed Mir and Ashok Bhat were among those who joined the video conference meeting with Singh on Covid preparedness and follow-up measures, the statement said. PTI AKV AKV ANB ANB