NCR cities cannot be separate from Delhi during crisis: Shah
Union home minister Amit Shah on Thursday emphasised the need to have a unified strategy in Delhi-National Capital Region (Delhi-NCR) to tackle the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), adding that suburbs such as Gurugram, Noida and Ghaziabad can’t be separated from the Capital in the public health emergency.
Shah held a meeting with Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and senior officials of the Haryana and Uttar Pradesh governments to review the Covid-19 situation in Delhi-NCR amid a surge in the number of cases of the infectious disease.
Delhi recorded 2,877 new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, which took the total in the city to 49,979.
“In view of the structure of Delhi-NCR region, all concerned bodies need to unite and work on a common strategy against the coronavirus pandemic. In this context, I met with Delhi Chief Minister and senior officials of Center and Delhi-NCR today to discuss how to evolve a strategy as soon as possible,” Shah tweeted.
At the meeting, Shah said that keeping in view the close-knit urban structure of the NCR region, it was necessary for all concerned authorities in Delhi-NCR to come together to tackle the virus, according to a statement.
The Union home minister has directed officials from Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to submit information about Covid-19 beds, ventilators, oxygen cylinders, ICUs and ambulances available with them and their plan to augment these resources by July 15 July to his ministry so that a common strategy could be devised in Delhi-NCR.
Authorities in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi have imposed border restrictions at different points over the past few weeks, leading to complaints of inconvenience from commuters, some of them engaged in essential services.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal recently announced that only patients from Delhi would be treated at hospitals run by the Delhi government and at private hospitals in the Capital. Lieutenant governor Anil Baijal, however, overruled the Delhi government’s decision, saying that people from all states, including the adjoining cities, would be treated at all facilities in the Capital.
A senior home ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Gurugram, Noida, Sonepat, Faridabad and Ghaziabad are important suburbs and crucial to the Capital. “They cannot refuse to make available each others’ facilities. They have to work with each other else one or the other will be overwhelmed by the pandemic,” the official said.
The home minister also suggested that the NCR districts could consider adopting the Rs 2,400 charge fixed for Covid-19 tests in Delhi, besides the new rapid antigen methodology being implemented in the national capital from Thursday.
A committee under the chairmanship of NITI Aayog member Dr VK Paul has fixed the price of Rs 2,400 for Covid-19 tests in the national capital. The Delhi government commenced Covid-19 testing through the rapid antigen methodology at 169 centres in and around containment zones of the city from Thursday.
The Union home minister said that in order to control the virus, there was a need to test more and it was also necessary to identify and treat those who were diagnosed as positive. “The Union home minister said there is a need to work in a mission mode,” the official statement said.
Shah has held a series of meetings with Delhi lieutenant governor Baijal, CM Kejriwal and senior officials this week over the strategy to augment Delhi’s health care infrastructure amid the Covid-19 outbreak.
On Thursday, he told the meeting that a committee also decided on the rates for Covid-19 beds and treatment, and these rates could also be applied to hospitals in the NCR region after consultations.
Shah also assured support from the Centre to the authorities in Delhi-NCR in the fight against the disease, which has so far killed 12,605 people in India.
On June 4, the Supreme Court asked the Centre to convene a meeting of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana for easing interstate movement at all borders in the NCR. It also observed that there should be a consistent policy in this regard.
The Centre informed the apex court that the union home secretary had convened a joint meeting on June 9 with chief secretaries of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to deal with the issue and now there was no barrier on these borders.
(With inputs from PTI)