Agartala, Apr 12: Tripura opposition party CPI (M) today came down heavily on ruling BJP-IPFT government after formal notification of invoking Essential Service Maintenance Act (ESMA) on Saturday, which they believed to be an instrument for ceasing the right of service providers to express genuine grievances that ultimately make common people sufferer but government claimed it as a tool to ensure uninterrupted service at this crisis moment.
Leader of the opposition, Manik Sarkar accused the state government of its failure to undertake adequate safety measures for the health workers in time and by invoking ESMA they wanted to suppress their failure and put the health staff at risk. “The invocation of ESMA in such a situation when global leaders are seeking help and service from every citizen is ‘surprising’ and instead of providing safety kits like personal protection equipment (PPE) for the people involved in health services, the state government all on a sudden has clamped ESMA in response to the expression of concern of some health workers about their risk,” Sarkar stated. Sarkar observed that it was wrong on the part of the government to ignore their own weaknesses through adoption of the method of suppression. It was a highly objectionable, unjust and thoroughly authoritarian step, which needs to be revoked immediately and bring back a congenial atmosphere to fight better against coronavirus. “If the state government thinks to mum and muzzle people in expressing their mind including doctors, nurses, govt. officers and employees in this hour of grave crisis, how united effort will develop to confront, counter and combat COVID-19?” he questioned and urged to withdraw the decision of imposition of ESMA at the earliest.
Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath however, denied the allegations of Sarkar and said the government did not have any intention to use ESMA but it’s a tool in the hands of the government to run the system better during Covid-19 pandemic. He argued despite having IPC and CrPC, the government across the country imposed Epidemic Disease Act and Disaster Management Act for better management of the situation. “In many states have passed a number of administrative orders to battle against Covid-19 and all such steps are for the betterment of the citizens. ESMA is one of such tools, already exist in the system and by notifying it, the government just reminded the concern people that providing service even against all odds but opposition leader instigating the service providers to do politics, which is unbecoming,” Nath stated.
He pointed out that Sarkar misinterpreted the facts about the use of PPE and medicated mask-like N-95 and clarified, “PPE and N-95 are not for the general health staff including doctors working in the hospitals. These are mandated exclusively for the doctors and staff those who will treat the Covid-19 patients. The normal mask and gloves have already been distributed among the staff and there are no complaints.” Nath, further stated that health department has served show-cause notice to 15 nurses of Agartala Govt Medical College (AGMC) for their misconduct not for raising demand for health protection kits and added, “The government believes and respect the personal liberty and freedom of expression but it should not harm the welfare policy of the government.” UNI