SALEM: While Tamil Nadu got its first batch of 24,000 rapid test kits on Friday, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has asked the Centre to provide an additional 50,000 units from its share to boost the fight against the virus in the State. “The State government has paid China for 1.25 lakh kits of which 24,000 have arrived. The Centre is giving us only 12,000, and we have asked for 50,000. We had a word with the Union Health Minister, and he promised to consider our request,” the CM told reporters on Friday.
Palaniswami was addressing the media after chairing a review meeting with officials in Salem. “It is our duty to save the people and the AIADMK government has acted exceptionally well during various natural calamities. The spread of COVID-19 is under control owing to various steps taken by the government. As on Thursday, a total of 180 persons have recovered and been discharged. Only those who were admitted with the infection in an advanced state are taking time to recover,” he said.
On allowing industries to start functioning after April 20, he said, “The Union government has given permission to run some industries. However, industries located in places announced as prohibited areas are not allowed to function. We have constituted a panel headed by the Finance Secretary to select which industries can be allowed to function. The government will announce it on April 20.”
On providing welfare assistance to unorganised workers, he said they will receive the benefits in the next five days. “We have instructed all Amma Unavagams to function during the lockdown. Till date, a total of 2.51 lakh people have been served by these canteens in Salem. Groceries have been delivered at the doorstep of 23,000 people through 78 departmental stores in the district.” He said 98 per cent of ration card holders have received the `1,000 relief assistance announced by the government.
“We also announced essential commodities including rice, dhal and oil for migrant workers. In Salem, majority of the workers have received it. Others will receive it within four days,” he added. Responding to criticism by DMK chief MK Stalin, he said: “I am not going to care about what Stalin says. We are fighting to save lives. The Opposition leader should act in a responsible manner and not play with the lives of people.”