GUWAHATI, April 25 - The All India Professionals� Congress (AIPC) has called upon the State government to ramp up COVID-19 testing to prevent spread of the pandemic.
�An exponential ramping up of coronavirus testing is required to gauge the actual impact of the nationwide lockdown so far. There is an urgent need to upgrade health care facilities with extensive testing. Assam has many districts under red zone and orange zone. There is a need to scale up testing exponentially in all such districts if we want the lockdown to work. Assam is still not out of the woods, and large-scale testing alone can make the picture clear. The government seems to be clueless on �what after May 3�, when the lockdown period gets over as the government has to take a backseat due to negligible COVID-19 testing being done so far to come to any conclusion. This has raised concern among the people of Assam at large,� said Gauravv Somani, president of Assam State unit of AIPC.
Regarding the announcement by the education department on waiver of 50 per cent school fees for the month of April, Somani said, �Going by the examples of other states in India where governments have asked all schools to waive off three months� fees, it looks like the Assam government is more concerned about the few school owners than the lakhs of people looking for their survival amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The government should have announced complete school fee waiver for at least three months.�
AIPC has also castigated the State government over the recent steep hike in VAT on petrol, diesel and other motor spirits.
�The Assam government�s decision is regressive and is a very discouraging step, especially at a time when the prices of essentials are already at an increased level and the logistic supply costs are extremely high. This rise will further trigger a shocking trend in price rise and will challenge the middle class and poor people of Assam with an ever decreasing purchasing capacity and with no work for a month now and almost more than a week to go. This will trigger an inflationary trend,� said the AIPC State president.
He added, �It is a matter of great concern that in these testing times when the entire country is facing a never-seen-before challenge for survival, the Government in Assam is busy trying to fill its coffers by increasing the prices of diesel and petrol. While we understand that the State revenues are also strained and going down due to lack of economic activity for the last one month, we strongly believe that the government could have easily offset the shortage by various other means of revenue generation.�