The Centre will provide a financial package of Rs 1,353 crore to the Northeastern states to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Union Health minister Mansukh Mandaviya announced on Tuesday.
Reviewing the COVID-19 situation with the health ministers and senior officials of all the Northeastern states here, Mr Mandaviya said the fund is being provided to purchase medicines, enhance oxygen supply, increase the number of beds at local and district-level hospitals.
” The fund will also be utilised to speed up the vaccination drive by the states in the region,” the Union minister told a press conference.
An official release said that Mr Mandaviya announced a special package of Rs 1,352.92 crore for the Northeastern states to strengthen their health infrastructure to fight the pandemic effectively.
Out of the total amount, Rs 812.46 crore will be given to Assam, Rs 141.94 crore to Arunachal Pradesh, Rs 93.02 crore to Tripura, Rs 91.94 crore to Meghalaya, Rs 85.95 crore to Manipur, Rs 62.46 crore to Nagaland, Rs 44.30 crore to Mizoram and Rs 21.85 crore to Sikkim, the minister said in a tweet.
The Government of India is committed to providing enough vaccines to the states as per their requirements, the Union minister told the press conference following the review meeting.
He said the fund for the region is a part of the pan-India package of over Rs 23,000 crore.
Asked about the preparedness for the possible third wave of COVID-19 in the country, Mr Mandaviya said, “The cases may rise again, but we are fully prepared to handle the situation.”
The centre has been constantly monitoring the situation in this region and is committed to providing all necessary assistance to the states to tackle the pandemic better.
Mr Mandaviya praised all the eight states of the region on the vaccination front and said they are doing their best in giving the jabs to the people.
“Initially the vaccination rate was low due to various factors like demography and vaccine hesitancy along with other challenges. However, it has picked up during the last 10 days,” he added.
On the prolonged second wave of the pandemic in the Northeast, the minister said the peak in the region was seen much later than the rest of the country and so it is taking time to decline.
“In the last two weeks, the cases have started declining in the Northeast and this is a good sign. All the states took various steps to contain the second wave and it is ending now,” Mr Mandaviya said.
He said all the states gave detailed presentations on how they are handling the COVID-19 situation after the Union Health Ministry elaborated on the steps taken by the Central government.
Earlier, Mr Mandaviya met with Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and discussed the COVID-19 management of the state.
“I noted the steps being taken by the State Govt to curtail the spread of #COVID19 in Assam. The Central Govt will continue to support the State in its endeavours to mitigate the pandemic,” the Union minister tweeted.
Mr Sarma said on the microblogging site that the state government assured Mandaviya of Assam’s “firm resolve” to provide the best healthcare services to its people.
“I also apprised Hon Minister @fertmin_india on BVFCL and how we have been working on reviving Namrup IV at the earliest. We’ve also expressed our interest in setting up a Nano Urea plant at BVFCL. Appreciate patient hearing from Sri @mansukhmandviya,” the chief minister added.