Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Tuesday said additional funds were required due to the ongoing second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
Replying to a cut motion in the Assembly, Sangma said that during 2021-22, budget provision of Rs 3 crore was allotted.
He however said with the continuing situation arising out of COVID-19 pandemic, the state government has to meet various expenditures relating to provision kits, community quarantine centres, transportation of stranded citizens, accommodation of health workers, ex-gratia payment to the next of kin of the deceased due to COVID-19, IEC activities, follow up of returnees and quarantined citizens, etc.
“Accordingly, an advance from Contingency Fund of Rs 15 Crores was moved as Advance from Contingency Fund which requires regularization and Rs 13,42,00,000/- as additional Supplementary Demand for Grants to meet committed and anticipated liabilities relating to the above mentioned payments,” he added.
The cut motion was moved by Congress legislator from Mawlai PT Sawkmie against the supplementary demand of an additional amount of 28.42 crore moved by the CM during the Assembly.
The Chief Minister also informed that the state government had undertaken a number of initiatives under the Chief Minister’s Special Grant (CMSG) as part of the measures to contain and mitigate the difficulties faced by the citizens on account of the pandemic and other situations.
He said during the year 2021-21, an amount of Rs 3,13,38,505 was paid towards cost of Provision kits through the respective Deputy Commissioners.
The state government also partnered with Avenues for Tele calling services and follow up of returnees, contact tracing of High/Low risk contacts. An Amount of Rs 1,91,797 was spent for the purpose from the Chief Minister’s Special Grant.
He further informed that the medical and health care workers have been accommodated in government requisitioned hotels since most of them do not have adequate space at their residence for isolation after returning from COVID-19 duties.
To this effect, the government has paid an amount of Rs 10,46,55,124 towards requisitioning of the hotels under the Chief Minister’s Relief Grant, he said.
Stating that the COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected the lives of everyone across the Globe, the CM said like many other states, Meghalaya was also severely affected by both the first and the second wave of the pandemic.
“However, the scale of fatality during the second wave was so severe that many precious lives have been lost.
In order to assist the next of kin of the patients who succumbed to death due to COVID-19, the Government of Meghalaya has announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 50,000 to the next of kin of the deceased due to COVID -19 under the Chief Minister’s Special Grant w.e.f 1st April,” he said.
On procedures for disbursement of ex-gratia, he said the Deputy Commissioners are entrusted with the responsibility to compile and verify the authenticity of the cause of death.
He said after due verification, the Deputy Commissioners recommend proposals for ex-gratia alongwith the detailed names and bank account of the next of kin of the deceased to the Chief Minister’s Secretariat.
Immediately upon receipt of the proposals with bank account details, the CM’s Secretariat sanctioned the ex-gratia and transfers payment directly to the bank account of the next of kin.
During the period from 1st April 2021 upto 13th September 2021, a total of 1258 persons died due to COVID-19.
The Chief Minister also informed that against the total number of 1258 deceased persons, ex gratia payment of Rs 50,000 has been made to the next of kin of 514 number amounting to Rs 2,57,00,000 only leaving a balance number of 744 deceased in respect of which proposal and bank account details are awaited from the Deputy Commissioners.
“As such, an anticipated liability of Rs 3,72,00,000 is pending as on 13th September 2021. This amount is likely to increase on a daily basis with an increasing number of daily deaths,” he said.
In order to assist the efforts of the Community Covid Management Teams across the state, the government in their fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government has also sanctioned an amount of Rs 5000 only per CCMT to 3900 CCMTs amounting to Rs 1,94,97,500.
According to him, these efforts will go a long way to supplement the efforts of the CCMTs .
Informing about the anticipated liabilities, the Chief Minister said that during 2020, the government had arranged for transportation and refreshment of stranded citizens from across the country to ensure that our stranded citizens safely reach home.
Towards this, the government had incurred an expenditure of Rs 4,23,705 payable to Meghalaya Transport Corporation towards transportation and refreshment, he added.
During 2021-22, he said the government has also incurred an additional expenditure of Rs 2,70,00,000 towards accommodation of medical and health care workers.
Stating that the government has sanctioned Rs 5000 to Community Covid Management Teams, he said however, 924 CCMTs (505 in East Khasi Hills and 419 in West Khasi Hills) are yet to be paid adding thus, the total pending liability is Rs 46,17,500
“An anticipated liability of Rs 3,72,00,000 is pending as on 13th September 2021 towards ex gratia payment of Rs 50,000 has been made to the next of kin of 744 COVID-19 deceased persons. This amount is likely to increase on a daily basis with an increasing number of daily deaths,” he said.
Sangma further stated that since the number of COVID-19 positive cases are increasing on a daily basis, the distribution of Provision Kits to those under quarantined is also required to be continued.
In this regard, it may be noted that as on 13th September 2021, the number of total COVID 19 reported cases stands at 78,359 Nos out of which active cases stands at 1859 nos.
“As such, we have anticipated Rs 5,00,00,000 (Five Crore only) as committed liability for 2021-22,” the Chief Minister said while adding there will also be other contingent expenditure which will have to be met from the Chief Minister’s Special Grant.