By Ramesh Lamsal, Narayan Dhungana, Kathmandu, April 7: Minister for Home Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa, who is also a member of the High-Level Coordination Committee formed by the government for the prevention and control of COVID-19 infection, has talked to RSS on a series of issues including border security, government initiatives on supplies of daily essentials during the period of lockdown and others, saying that the situation of security is normal thanks to the effective mobilization of the government security agencies during the time of crisis.
“The security situation is normal. But some sporadic cases challenging law and order situation have been reported. We have mobilized the security personnel round the clock to curb these. We are cautious as such incidents,” Home Minister Thapa said.
We have made security system more effective and responsive even to curb the domestic violence and others that can take place during the time of crisis, he added.
Regarding the lack of personal protective equipments to the security personnel, Minister Thapa admitted inadequacy of equipments to some extent, adding that the government had no as such projection about this scale of crisis. “But, we have availed such equipment to the security officials in the recent days and no one will be left in risk,” according to the Home Minister.
''The APF Hospital has been developed as a dedicated hospital,'' he said, sharing about the government plan to extend it. Besides, preparations were on to establish such type of hospitals in every state.
According to him, the government has now concentrated on some key strategies to cope with COVID-19 crisis: prevention of the disease from entering the country, its containment following entry, better treatment and smooth supplies of foodstuff during the crisis and works are going on accordingly. Border points have been sealed, processes of establishing dedicated hospitals, nation-wide quarantine facilities and laboratories are the progress, the roles of local levels have been sought to ensure essential supplies in a systematic way and distribute relief packages through one -door system. Besides, the government is working strategically to make people fully comply with lockdown rules.
In his response to a query about the use of security force against the citizens leaving homes to buy daily essentials, the Home Minister said such incidences were exceptional as the security forces were acting as per the law. But the exceptional cases were due to lack of clear communications of our directions in the entire security mechanism and some unawareness about the State decisions. But again the excessive use of forces by security people was against the law and we were focused on training them more and making well -informed government decisions.
''It has been decided to let some infrastructure development-related projects and industries connected with supplies operate during lockdown and the government is trying to facilitate in the import of construction materials and raw materials for them.''
He further added market monitoring programme under the leadership of Chief District Officer had been introduced in all districts to discourage possible black-marketeering during the crisis. Groups comprising security people, government representatives and civil society had been formed to make market monitoring more effective. ''We had the complaint of supply of cooking gas on the black-market and now the situation had been taken under control.''
The Home Minister described lockdown and sending people in quarantine were the need of the hour either it was at home or beyond the border.
Nepal and India had both implemented a nation-wide lockdown against the disease. '' We have information that those Nepalis put in quarantine in Dharchula by the Indian Government have been given basic facilities, but again there might be problems for them as they are in a large number.''
As he said, boarder seal is also necessary to control the virus from further spreading. Around 500 Indians are in quarantine towards Nepali territory there, However, we are committed to resolving the problem through mutual coordination.
He said that some Indian nationals have entered Nepal for work and some Nepali Muslim have returned home after attending a religious programme in a mosque of New Delhi.
It is reported that coronavirus infected Muslims had entered India from outside and its spread was likely from the mosque programme. This issue has become a big issue in India and National Army has been mobilized there, said Minister Thapa, adding the Armed Police Force has taken responsibility of security with an objective of making border security more strict keeping it in mind and 11,000 forces have been deputed so far.
Responding to the complaint for not developing Balambu-based hospital of Armed Police Force a dedicated hospital for treating COVID-19, the Home Minister said that main problem is human resources (doctors and nurses). "We are going to assign doctors from Nepal Army, Nepal Army, Armed Police Force, health ministry and private hospitals. Another thing is health equipment—PPE and safety kits. Now all things have now been managed".
He said dedicated hospitals would be developed in all states, saying that preparations are on to set up labs in seven places across the country.
“The government has the policy to convert the hospitals of the western pats into the special ones. Gradually, the process will begin. We are in the preparatory phase,” added Home Minister Thapa. On dispute regarding the procurement of the medical supplies, he said the government had not even expected such crisis and said that the medical goods remained slightly expensive.
Now, the process has been initiated by scrapping the contract after the company failed to bring other materials. “Other private entrepreneurs have also started to bring. The government will facilitate. Also, we have forwarded the process to bring medical goods from government to government and also from the army,” Thapa said. ---