State Cabinet’s Decisions
By ARUN PRATAP SINGH
DEHRADUN, 8 Apr: At a meeting of the Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat here, today, it was decided to continue with the lockdown as it is going on presently. It may be recalled that the current phase of the 21 day lockdown is due to end on 14 April. However, it now appears highly unlikely that the lockdown would be lifted with effect from 15 April, particularly in view of the fact that Dehradun continues to be a hotspot for the Corona spread. A total of 18 cases have been reported to be positive in Dehradun district.
At today’s cabinet meeting, it was decided that the state would send its recommendation for extension of the lockdown beyond 15 April to the Centre. It is worth mentioning that most of the Corona positive cases in Uttarakhand can be attributed to theTablighi Jamaat and since many of the Jamaatis might still not have declared their participation in the Delhi meet, the possibility of Uttarakhand moving towards the next stage of Corona infection remains. Given this, the government probably felt it important to extend the lockdown and not just in Dehradun which has already been listed as a hotspot for the Corona infection by the Centre.
Several other important decisions were also taken by the Cabinet, including a 30 percent cut in salaries of legislators and ministers.
As was done some days ago by the Modi Government at the Centre, the Uttarakhand Government as also decided to reduce the MLA-LAD fund by Rs 1 crore for every MLA over the next two years in the state in view of the Corona crisis, as well as effect a cut of 30 percent in salaries of the chief minister, ministers and legislators. The savings accrued thus would be channelled to the COVID-19 Funds. Government spokesman Madan Kaushik briefed the media about the cabinet decisions. Other decisions taken today included providing adequate ration to all citizens under the Food Security Scheme. Under the Antyodaya scheme, 35 kg ration would be made available for 3 months in the form of wheat and rice. Food Security Scheme white card holders would be provided 5 kg of rice and pulses free per unit. Apart from those two categories of Ration Cards, 10 lakh other types of ration card holders with 40 lakh units would be given double the amount of ration i.e. 15 kg ration to the card holders for three months in April, May and June. Ration kits would be given to those who do not have any ration card.
As many as 347 posts of technicians and related cadres were approved for the Uttarakhand Medical Education Department and the appointment process would begin soon.
The Cabinet was informed that, at present, 823 isolation beds for positive cases of Corona virus, 1682 beds for suspected cases of Corona, ICU facility for Corona patients, 251 ventilators, 8695 PPE Kits, 2034 VTM Kits were available in the state. It was stated that additional facilities were also available in private hospitals and that efforts were being made to further improve the infrastructure facilities in the state at the earliest. With regard to distribution of food grains, it was decided to utilise the services of NGOs for the purpose. In the meeting, emphasis was placed on social distancing. It was said that the minister in-charge of each district would undertake a review of these districts through video conferencing and telephone, and that the MLAs ought to avoid physical tours to their constituencies but continue to review the situation via telephone and other means of communication.
The Chief Minister was entrusted with the right to amend the time limit of exemption given for the purchase of essential materials daily depending on the situation.