THIRUVANATHAPURAM: A day after Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala came out with 14 recommendations to the Chief Secretary to combat the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, he called on Governor Arif Mohammad Khan at Raj Bhavan on Monday.
During the meeting, Chennithala conveyed the seriousness of the issue citing the spurt in the number of COVID-19 cases. He said there is a compelling need to revisit the state's management protocols and strategies so that the pandemic is controlled effectively without affecting the livelihoods of the general public.
In the memorandum submitted to the Governor, the Opposition leader highlighted the acute shortage of vaccines. Chennithala urged the Governor to exert pressure over the central government to allocate vaccines on a priority basis to the state. He said that the Centre can also consider allowing the state to directly reach out to manufacturers and to fix statewise priority for vaccination.
"The health insurance facility for healthcare workers announced by the Centre had expired on March 1. Hence this needs to be extended for at least six months. It would have been good if the Prime Minister takes steps to extend the insurance facility to frontline warriors like police, municipal workers, local body and revenue officials. At a time when the second wave of COVID-19 is increasing manifold, NABARD authorities should refrain from taking the disbursed loans worth Rs 2500 crore till the situation is stabilized," said Chennithala.
He also said that 1200 new posts that were created in the Directorate of Health Services are yet to materialize. Chennithala requested the Governor to direct the Chief Secretary to take steps for filling these posts on priority. Recently, the Kasaragod district collector had decided that people coming to the district should have negative RT-PCR results. Chennithala maintained that district collectors should not take unilateral decisions pertaining to their district. He informed that proper discussions should be taken first before coming up with such decisions.
"The district collectors may be directed to hold regular meetings with local body representatives and authorities for effective implementation and for ensuring peoples' support. Currently, various district collectors are acting independently without any coordination and are issuing circulars, which are creating more confusion and panic among people," added Chennithala.
He also maintained that the Thrissur Pooram should be held abiding by the COVID-19 protocol.
When various university exams have been postponed as per the directive of the Governor, Chennithala urged the state government to seriously consider whether the PSC exams should be held at a time when the COVID-19 cases are going up at an alarming rate.
Chennithala also informed that the Election Commission is yet to give a favourable reply on the postal ballot issue.
When Congress mouthpiece Veekshanam had come out with a statement of state Congress president Mullapally Ramachandran welcoming Cherian Philip back to the party fold, Chennithala said the former Congress leader should have realized his prominence in the party.