Shillong, July 10: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Friday said his government has incurred an expenditure of Rs 240 crore in improving the state's health infrastructure and procuring necessary equipment during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last year, the government spent nearly Rs 400 crore for tackling the first wave. "Meghalaya has spent Rs 240 crore, mostly for improving infrastructure and procurement of equipment such as oxygen cylinders and PPEs, as it fought the second wave of the pandemic. This is apart from the Rs 6.8 crore that the state had received from the Centre for creating prefabricated structure amid the crisis," the chief minister said.
According to Sangma, two cryogenic plants - one at Jengjal in the Garo Hills and the other in the state capital are at an "advanced stage of completion". Both the plants are set to come up in the next two weeks, and trials runs will be conducted soon. Expressing regret over the loss of lives due to COVID-19, the CM urged everyone to get vaccinated.
"Of the 749 people who died due to COVID-19 in the past 15 months, 691 had not taken vaccine, not even one dose. Clearly, the data indicates that vaccination is necessary to save lives," he said. Sangma further said close to 80 per cent health workers have been inoculated in the state.
"We are motivating people. We need to sensitise people, convince them that vaccination is the only way out to save lives," he said. Lashing out at Adelbert Nongrum, a legislator from North Shillong constituency, over his anti-vaccine stance, the CM said, "Some elected members have openly criticised the inoculation programme. Being elected members, we have a responsibility to ensure that our people are protected."
Meanwhile, Meghalaya on Friday recorded 426 new COVID-19 cases, which pushed the tally to 53,670, Health Services Director Aman War said. The toll rose to 899 after nine more patients died of the infection. At least 417 more people recuperated from the viral infection, taking the total recoveries in the state to 48,380. The state now has 4,391 active cases. Of the 426 new cases, 129 were detected in East Khasi Hills, 87 in the Ri-Bhoi, and 73 in West Garo Hills, War said.
Five fatalities were reported from East Khasi Hills, two from West Garo Hills, and one each from West Jaintia Hills and West Khasi Hills. Over 7.01 lakh samples have been tested in the northeastern state thus far. A total of 7.88 lakh people have been inoculated till date, with over 93,735 having received both doses of theCovishield vaccine, War added.