TN This Week: DMK Takes Over, State Attempts to Control COVID-19 Crisis
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) formed the government in Tamil Nadu this week after winning a majority in the recently concluded Assembly election. Read more
DMK chief M K Stalin was sworn in as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister in Raj Bhavan, Chennai on May 7. Governor Banwarilal Purohit administered the oath of office to him and his 33 ministers.
Hours after taking oath as chief minister, Stalin signed five files to implement certain promises made in the DMK manifesto. Part of it was the pandemic-time relief of Rs 2,000 for ration card holders and free COVID treatment in private hospitals.
A day later, the Tamil Nadu government announced a total lockdown in the state from May 10 to 24 to curb the spread of COVID-19.
INCREASING CASES, INFRASTRUCTURE SHORTAGE
The fresh tally of COVID-19 cases crossed the 25,000 mark in Tamil Nadu. On May 6, a total of 26,465 cases were reported, pushing the active infections to 1.35 lakh. The 197 deaths reported took the cumulative toll to 15,171. Read more
Amidst the steady increase in COVID-19 infections, health infrastructure in the state is beginning to crumble. The state is also said to be under-reporting the active cases.
Tamil Nadu reported an acute shortage of oxygen to the Madras High Court, it said that only a day’s stock of liquid medical oxygen was left. The court appealed to the Centre to take immediate steps to meet the oxygen demand.
However, no information of response from the Centre is known as yet even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Stalin regarding the pandemic situation in the state on May 8.
Given that only one counter was available in the state for procuring Remdesivir, the drug used for COVID-19 treatment, crowds were seen thronging the Kilpauk Medical College Hospital in Chennai. The situation ran out of control on May 7, when people began barging the counter and violating physical distancing protocols.
A day later, on May 8, Health Minister Ma Subramanian announced that Remdesivir would be available in five more districts - Madurai, Coimbatore, Salem and Tirunelveli -- aside from Chennai.
In another crucial announcement, he said the Tamil Nadu government was taking measures to add 12,500 beds with oxygen support by May 15.
The state announced a two week "total lockdown" from May 10 amid a surge in COVID-19 cases. It will be enforced from May 10 to May 24, and only essential services will function in the two-week period.
Speaking on behalf of the overwhelmed medical fraternity, Tamil Nadu Government Doctors’ Association also urged the government for a complete lockdown.
Services allowed to continue during the lockdown are banks (with 50% staff) and ration shops. Eateries will only be allowed takeaways. E-commerce will run till 12 noon.
No cabs or auto-rickshaws are allowed to ply except for medical, wedding or funeral work.
No educational institute will be permitted to function. All private offices, institutions, IT, ITES will also be disallowed to function.
Tourist destinations and all places of public worship will be fully shut.
TASMAC liquor outlets will remain closed for the fortnight. Read more
FIRST ORDERS AS CM
Issuing his first set of orders after taking over as CM, Stalin signed an order to immediately provide the first installment of Rs 2,000 out of the Rs 4,000 to aid livelihoods during the pandemic.
Stalin has said that the government will bear the cost of coronavirus treatment for patients admitted in private hospitals. The cost will be covered under the Chief Minister's Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme.
Besides reducing the price of milk supplied by state-run Aavin by Rs 3 and waiving ticket costs for women in certain government buses, he also passed the order to constitute the "Chief Minister in Your Constituency" scheme to redress people's issues within 100 days of taking over
Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently Abled and Caregivers (TARATDAC), has written to Stalin requesting him to order free bus travel for disabled and for their escorts as well, as promised by DMK's election manifesto.
AIADMK UNABLE TO PICK LEADER OF OPPOSITION
A meeting of newly-elected AIADMK legislators held on May 8 to choose the Leader of the Opposition turned stormy.
Supporters of AIADMK CM candidate Edappadi K Palaniswami believe he should be the Leader of the Opposition, as the party performed well in his region, Western Tamil Nadu. However, O Panneerselvam’s supporters feel the party fared poorly in other parts due to the wrong policies of Palaniswami when he was Chief Minister.
The meeting at the party headquarters remained inconclusive, and a second meeting of MLAs is scheduled to be held on May 10.
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