Shillong, Nov 10: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma informed that out of the 399 crore spent on COVID related expenses, bills have been paid for Rs. 251 Crores and the pending liabilities are Rs. 148 Crores.
The Chief Minister was replying to a short-duration discussion tabled by Congress MLA from P T Sawkmie on COVID expenditure.
Presenting a detailed compilation, he informed that the state has incurred an expenditure of Rs 399 crores on various health and non-health related aspects of management of the coronavirus pandemic.
The expenditure by the Health Department, including Directorate of Health Services and National Health Mission, was informed to be Rs 271.2 crores.
The Revenue and Disaster Management (SDRF) spent 23.7 crores, Revenue and Disaster Management (PM CARES) spent 3.5 crores, 7.4 crores was spent by the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, Rs 14.7 crores was spent by Chief Minister’s Special Grant, Labour Department spent 51 crores, Mining & Geology Department (DMF) spent 8.9 crores, Community & Rural Development and Urban Affairs (SRWP & SUWP) spent 15.1 crores and Urban Affairs spent Rs 3.5 crores.
He added that Rs 103.8 crores was funded by tapping into various sources in addition with the state government’s own sources.
The Chief Minister informed that the ‘key items of expenditure’ was on increasing testing facilities, setting up corona care centres, installation of ventilators, quarantine facilities for health workers, buying protective equipments, ambulances, sanitization, one-time cash support to stranded citizens and returnees, providing provision kits, relief to building & other construction workers, unregistered workers and on MLA scheme.
He stated that the government did not spare any effort in dealing with the pandemic and that the government’s efforts have been appreciated by the World Health Organization.
“During the meetings that were held under your chairmanship to discuss the pandemic, the
Members of the opposition had also appreciated and showed satisfaction in the way our Government had handled the crisis,” he stated.
Not satisfied with the reply, Congress MLA from Mawsynram HM Shangpliang questioned as to why Rs. 8.3 crores was spent on the procuring of Sodium Hypochlorite alone within a span of two months (April-May).
He demanded a special audit be conducted to check ‘unwanted COVID expenditure.’
Sangma responded stating that only Rs. 1 crore was spent on Sodium Hypochlorite and that the amount of Rs 8.3 crores also included cost of sanitizing roads, hospitals, residences etc and transportation charges.
In response to a question by Congress legislator George Lyngdoh on why Industries Department had to spend Rs 3.3 crore for the supply of masks, the Chief Minister stated that the amount was spent to help self-help groups (SHGs) produce masks.