15-point suggestion put forth to manage COVID-19 situation

Kathmandu, April 19

The State Affairs and Good Governance Committee of the House of Representatives today presented a 15-point suggestion to the government for effectively handling the adverse situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

The suggestions forwarded to the government through the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of the Ministers stressed the urgent need to create an environment for Nepali citizens stranded at the Nepal-India border points to return home as per international standards related to infectious disease control amid the lockdown imposed by the both the governments.

The SAGGC also urged the government to make arrangements for bringing back people, including migrant workers and students living in Kathmandu valley and other parts of the country, in coordination with the provincial and local levels by exercising safety measures against possibility of being exposed to the virus.

Similarly, the parliamentary panel has directed the government to slash the number of police personnel deployed for security of VIP and VVIPs and depute them to the international border points, activate the structures and mechanisms provisioned by the prevailing law in the fight against COVID-19, make the democratic government and administration more responsible towards citizens, broaden and expand the coverage of rapid test and PCR test in a transparent manner according to a targeted and time-bound action plan and initiate legal action against private health facilities which refuse to provide emergency and regular health services to patients of chronic diseases.

The SAGGC urged the government to ensure that doctors, health workers, personnel of Nepali Army, Nepal Police and Armed Police Force, elected representatives and employees of local levels working in the frontline of the battle against COVID-19 have access to protective gear.

The government has also been told to regularise the supply of daily essentials; initiate legal action against retailers and dealers involved in black-marketing consumer goods; make market monitoring effective; make necessary arrangements for sale, purchase, distribution and supply of fruits, vegetables, dairy products and other goods produced at the local levels by fixing specified venue and time for their sale, distribute relief to the needy and marginalised people through one-door system without discrimination and initiate legal action against any person involved in irregularities during relief distribution.

Likewise, the parliamentary panel has suggested that the government constitute an all-party high-level committee comprising all political parties, public health experts and the concerned stakeholders for its collaboration with authorities in preparation, implementation and management of strategic plan against the pandemic. “The government should spend the remaining budget allocated to Local Infrastructure Development Partnership Programme for prevention, control and treatment of COVID-19 patients. We also urge the government to step up security for protection and safety of women from gender based violence amid the nationwide lockdown,” said the parliamentary panel.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on April 20, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.