MADURAI: The Tamil Nadu government informed the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court that Rs 350.29 crore has been allocated so far for providing disinfectants, food, shelter and personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline workers involved in COVID-19 preventive measures.
In his status report on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) which sought distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) to non-medical frontline workers, the principal secretary for the revenue department said that based on the guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for tackling the pandemic, orders have been passed sanctioning funds from the State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF) to several departments.
The health, transport, rural development, municipal administration, HR and CE departments have been allotted Rs 60 crore to maintain preparedness to contain COVID-19.
The district administrations and police have been allotted Rs 97 crore for temporary accommodation, food, clothing and medical care for people in quarantine camps.
Town panchayats and municipal administrations have been allotted Rs 42.84 crore for purchasing disinfectants, gloves, masks and PPE.
The Greater Chennai Corporation and the rural development department have been given Rs 20 crore each for purchasing disinfectants and PPE.
The police, fire and rescue services have been allotted Rs 15.92 crore for procuring gum boots and helmets.
The Indian medicine and homeopathy departments have been given Rs 5 crore for preparation and distribution of Nilavembu and Kabasura kudineer to frontline workers.
He stated that so far nearly Rs 350.29 crore has been sanctioned towards procurement of disinfectants, providing food, shelter and PPE kits to frontline workers such as sanitary workers, police, fire and rescue service personnel, revenue officials and local body officials among others and claimed that these workers are being provided PPE kits daily.
He also added that nearly 2.8 lakh PPE kits, 2.17 lakh N95 masks and 2.8 lakh gloves have been procured for frontline workers in the health department. Health and police departments have been sanctioned funds to the tune of Rs 149.79 crore and Rs 6.5 crore for purchasing PPE kits, he further claimed.
However, a Bench comprising Justices PN Prakash and B Pugalendhi adjourned the PIL to May 27, seeking a detailed response on the distribution of the above equipment to frontline workers and the monitoring mechanism followed to ensure their usage.
The PIL was filed by an NGO People's Watch seeking direction to provide PPE kits to non-medical frontline workers like police personnel, sanitary workers, revenue officials and journalists among others.