KOCHI: Refuting the allegation that relaxation of the provisions of standard operating procedures (SOP) for Covid management in December last year led to Covid spread in the island, the Lakshadweep administration claimed that it was the visit by islanders to Kerala for Ramzan purchase in May 2021 that led to pandemic surge.
The administration said in a release on Friday that the SOP was revised on December 28, 2020, with the aim to open up the economy as the livelihood of islanders was affected due to Covid restrictions that brought tourism, fishing and construction activities to a grinding halt. As per the revised protocol, anyone visiting the islands should carry an RT-PCR negative certificate.
The first Covid positive case was reported on January 18, 2021, in Kavaratti island. Lakshadweep had only 31 confirmed cases as on April 5, but the number climbed to 2,000 by the first week of June.
“Most of the cases were reported during the second wave, and not because of revision of SOP,” the release stated.
Lakshadweep: Move to abolish 60 posts in govt depts triggers new row
Ahead of the holy month of Ramzan, a large number of islanders visited Kerala — one of the worst-affected areas — for shopping. This led to a rise in number of cases. The high transmission rate and increased movement of locals also contributed to the spread significantly, the release said.As per the administration, 1,63,660 Covid tests have been conducted till date, which is 2.33 times its total population.
Amid the raging controversy over the slew of reforms introduced by the administration, the move to merge the rural development and panchayat departments and abolish around 60 posts has triggered another row in Lakshadweep. A report on cadre review submitted by special secretaries Sushil Singh and O P Mishra has recommended the merger of the departments and abolition of posts.
The report said as the District Rural Development Agency has been converted into Department of Rural Development, the vacancies of project officer, accounts officer, assistant engineer, assistant project officer and junior engineer can be abolished. The report stated that these posts were vacant most of the time and are still vacant.
Amid the raging controversy over the slew of reforms introduced by the island administration, the move to merge the rural development and panchayat departments and abolish around 60 posts has triggered another row in Lakshadweep.