Although the Covid cases count has been increasing for over a month, it is only now that the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation has been moving to write a letter requesting permission to use the Rs 28-crore Covid cess for the purchase of vaccines, drugs, and other critical equipment such as oxygen cylinders.
The Municipal Corporation received over Rs 28 crore in cess in just seven and a half months last year. The goal has been to raise a corpus that could be useful to deal with any emergency triggered by the virus’s rampage.
Despite the fact that the city has been in a devastating state by the second wave of coronavirus. The emergency rooms are full, and social media is overwhelming with requests for O2, the cess has yet to be used for covid in Chandigarh.
In an interview with The Indian Express, MC Commissioner KK Yadav said, “After the House’s decision last week, we are to write a letter to the local government about the cess and that the health department should list its criteria so that they can utilize cess.” The MC House desired that it be used to purchase vaccines and other life-saving equipment or drugs.”
The COVID cess was imposed at the end of May last year and was collected until December 31.
There is no time to waste on communications as there is hike in covid cases.
Leader of the opposition and Congress councilor Devinder Singh Babla criticized the delay in releasing the cess. He says it is time for action, not bureaucratic formalities.
“The House meeting was last week; how long would it take to act?” Simply have the Commissioner meet with the Director, PGI, the Director of Health Services, and other experts. This is to determine the equipment needed to combat corona and release the necessary funds for covid cases,” Babla said.
“If the administration or company wishes, they can set up Covid treatment centers with ventilators in one day,” he said. What exactly do we want? Ventilators and oxygen beds Rs 28 crore is a large sum that can easily buy both.”
Councillors are paid 80 lakh, but they want to spend only 5 lakh on Covid cases care.
Aside from the cess collected from city residents, city councilors receive Rs 80 lakh each as ward development fund. However, at the House meeting, last week has been proposing only Rs 5 lakh each. The fund is from their WDF for COVID emergencies due to covid in Chandigarh.
According to experts, a counselor can use the WDF to cover the medical expenses of people in his ward. Manoj Parida, the adviser, has been asking people to come forward and set up Covid care centers in community centers. However, not a single councilor has come forward.
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