DEHRADUN: Uttarakhand MLAs on Thursday decided to give Rs 15 lakh to their respective constituencies from their MLA funds to fight ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. At present, the state has a total of 70 MLAs.
The decision proposed in state cabinet meeting was accepted by all state legislative assembly members cutting across party lines.
Indira Hridayesh, leader of opposition and Indian National Congress MLA from Haldwani said, "The decision is praiseworthy and we all should stand united in this moment of global crisis. Our responsibility is to contribute as much as we can to tackle the outbreak which threatens the world".
The ruling Bhartiya Janta Party has 56 MLAs followed by Congress (11) and three members happen to be independent. Earlier, one seat of the assembly was reserved for the nomination from the Anglo-Indian community taking the total count to 71 which was abolished in January 2020 by 104th amendment of the Constitution of India.
Each MLA gets Rs 3.75 Crore for development schemes in their respective constituencies every year. Demands have been raised time and again by the members to increase the funds up to Rs 5 Crore per annum. The decision to increase funds to fight the epidemic was also increased from Rs 50 Cr to Rs 60 Cr in a state cabinet meeting.
Other decisions included the closure of shopping malls till March 31 along with other safety measures. The chief secretary of the state will take meeting every day regarding ongoing situation about Covid-19 in the state and brief the CM about steps taken to contain the infection, said highly placed officials in the state government.
Meanwhile, Nainital hotel and restaurant association has decide to shut down all hotels and restaurants of Nainital town and adjacent hill stations from March 21-31 as a precautionary move to control the outbreak. Ved Sah, from the association, told TNIE, "Tourists from across the country and the world travel to Nainital. We have decide to shut down as a precautionary measure to check the spread of the virus."
Strict measures have been drastically imposed after Sunday when first positive case of infected patient surfaced from closing the secretariat for a week to close of malls, cinemas and imposing ban on any gathering over 50 people till March 31.
Authorized testing center for a suspected sample of the infection in the hill state, Dr Susheela Tiwari Government Medical College and Hospital in Haldwani city has sent a proposal to start work to building a temporary hospital of 100 beds to tackle the situation which is likely to get approved soon.