Ranchi: Chief Minister Hemant Soren sought necessary financial support from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to tackle the Coronavirus crisis in the state as Jharkhand was dominated by tribals and dalits and also requested him to increase labour payment under Mnrega to Rs 300 per day.
During an interaction with the Prime Minister over video conferencing he said that he was aware of the fact that the central government too was under economic pressure but since Jharkhand was a tribal and dalit dominated state, therefore, it has hope that the central government will understand its pain and suffering. He demanded that the state be provided essential financial assistance so that the lives of the poor can be protected.
Detailing the works currently on in the state the Chief Minister said that at present the government was working on two fronts. First was social security and second was protecting the lives of the people. The Chief Minister said that in the area of social security the state government has made arrangements for food at the panchayat level and the homes are also being provided with cooked food and dry ration.
He said that in Jharkhand 3 testing facilities are currently operational and so far in the state 1681 test have been conducted and 17 people have been detected positive for coronavirus. In Ranchi two hospitals have been dedicated for covid-19 patients in which there was arrangements of 160 beds. The Chief Minister said that 1.50 lakh workers have come from different states back to Jharkhand and after performing their screening they have been kept in necessary quarantine.
He pointed that the state government had urged ICMR to provide 300 ventilators, 10,000 testing kits and 1 lakh rapid testing kits which have yet not been received by the state and urged the Prime Minister to provide the necessary items. He pointed out that farmers involved in milk production and vegetable production are in deep distress due to lockdown.
The Chief Minister said that due to lockdown the state was under economic pressure as its own sources of income has decreased and even assistance from centre under different heads is not being received. He pointed that even the PSUs are not paying the pending dues to the state government and urged him to direct CCL, BCCL and SAIL to release the pending money. He said that loan limit of the state which is restricted to 3 percent of GSDP be increased to 5 percent so that loss of revenue can be compensated to some extent. He also requested the Prime Minister that the interest on loan for this fiscal should be waived off.
Hemant also urged the Prime Minister to approve the GR grant which is paid during the time of the disaster at Rs 60 per day for each citizen to the state government in wake of Coronavirus crisis.
The Chief Minister pointed out that labour payment under Mnrega was lowest in the country and urged him to hike the labour payment to Rs 300 per day. He said that when the lockdown ends it is expected that 5.50 lakh workers will return back to Jharkhand and after that the state will need the assistance of the central government to keep them in quarantine and also provide work to them and urged him to provide the technical assistance from paramilitary organisations to build tent toilets. He requested that working days under Mnrega be increased so that they can be provided jobs and claimed that in the case of unemployment there may be law and order problem or social tension.
He apprised the Prime Minister that in the time of crisis the employees of JSLPS, NGOs and SHGs stepped in odd circumstances and kitchens being run by them are providing food to more than 6 lakh people.
The Chief Minister said that the farmers have faced some problems for vegetable transporting but the state government was serious over the issue and works are to ensure their easy movement however he did admit that the state was facing some problem in the area of providing fooder to the animals.
Adding further he said that as far as the opening of ration and PDS shops was concerned the state government has directed that shops in such areas should be opened 24 hours so that the crowd is less and social distancing is also maintained. He said that the state government was working to commence harvesting of Rabi crops through social distancing.
The Chief Minister informed that all party meeting was also organised in the state and appeals have been issued to keep intact the communal fabric in the state.
He said that the state government was also working seriously so that more people can adopt aarogya setu app and people are being also made aware in this regard.
Those present also included Health Minister Banna Gupta, Chief Secretary Sukhdeo Singh, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Rajeev Arun Ekka, Principal Secretary Health Nitin Madan Kulkarni and DGP MV Rao.