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State minister blames shortage for poor management of quarantines

Karnali State’s Minister for Internal Affairs and Law, Naresh Bhandari, has said that the quarantine facilities could not be up to the mark due to the shortage of goods in the market. He explained that the quarantines in the State could not be managed well due to the lack of public structures in the local levels and the poor standard of the existing ones.

The State Minister Bhandari said this while replying to queries raised by the State Assembly members in the ninth meeting of the sixth session of the Karnali State Assembly here on Thursday.

He said the notion that the quarantines were reform houses should be institutionalised. State Minister Bhandari informed that Rs 132 million has been released to the local governments for the management of quarantines and more support from the federal government was needed in this. He added that homework was underway to send an additional amount to the local levels.

Stating that there were 32 thousand 870 quarantine centres in Karnali at present, the State Minister said difficulties were being faced managing these as some of them were empty while many were overwhelmed with the high number of India-returnees, which has also increased the risk of spread of COVID-19.

Minister Bhandari said the State government was moving ahead towards increasing the number of quarantine facilities, development of health infrastructure, adding the number of isolation beds, asking for more medical equipment with the Federal Government and expanding the coverage of tests for coronavirus by the state government itself purchasing the test kits.

He opined that despite these efforts the fight against COVID-19 is going to be a tough one in Karnali state as it has a weak health system, inadequate health human resources and low level of public awareness. The State Minister called for the cooperation from all stakeholders in the prevention, control and treatment of the coronavirus pandemic.

He reiterated that the State government was doing the necessary coordination with the investigation committee constituted by the federal government to bring to book all the culprits of the Chaurjahari incident. He further said the state government would provide compensation to the families of the victims of this incident and urged not to divert this incident into communal bigotry.

The opposition party, Nepali Congress, leader Jeevan Bahadur Shahi drew the attention of the State government saying it has come in the media that a car costing Rs 17.5 million is being purchased for State Assembly Speaker Raj Bahadur Shahi by flouting the public procurement law. He protested this move if it was true and sought an explanation from the government.

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