Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Friday announced several schemes for the state under the national Atmanirbhar packages, including the utilisation of Rs 11.5 crore towards purchase of Covid-19 healthcare equipment from the District Mineral Fund. The amount was categorised under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package.
In a virtual press meet, Sawant announced the amount has gone towards “purchase of machine and test kits, PPE kits, thermal imaging cameras, gene based confirmatory tests, Covid Hospital medicines and consumables”.
Sawant said several packages were being monitored through 27 government departments and the funds are from both centre and states.
“It’s a proud moment for me,” said Sawant thanking the central government ministers under Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Atmanirbar Package. “It will take time to implement it, but will be done. We will need all the support of all ministers, panchayats and Goans to ensure the schemes reach grass roots”.
Very recently the Bombay High Court at Goa has admitted a PIL by two mining affected persons Sudesh Narayan Gaonkar and Nilesh Harishchandra Velip, from mining-affected villages such as Velguem and Collem, along with NGO Goa Foundation alleging misuse of the district funds.
The petition has pointed that the Goa government has yet to release any of the Rs 180 crore collected for any of the mining affected villages and instead is diverting it for Covid-19, alleging mismanagement of funds. Under Section 9(B) of the Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, states are supposed to establish and utilise the mineral fund for a district that has been scouted for mining and is affected by mining activities.
While last year the government did say it used Rs 1 crore of the DMF, it is yet to respond to the High Court which had in 2018 pulled the government for mismanagement of the funds.
Meanwhile, Sawant who is also under home isolation after testing positive for Covid-19 on September 2, spoke of recovering soon, having been regular with “pranayam, regular diet and lots of water.”
Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane on Friday also announced being the first state to provide “comprehensive Covid-19 kit to the patients in home isolation” as he announced that purchases are expected this weekend. The announcement comes a week after AAP has been conducting an Oximeter drive reaching out to locals in home isolation. “The spike might go to 1,000 cases per day,” said Rane on Friday, admitting that many more will be going into home isolation in the days to come.
Goa on Friday had 5104 active cases, and 18065 recoveries.
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