Odisha Enhances Contingency Fund Corpus To Rs 2,000 Crore To Tackle COVID-19
Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government on Thursday increased the corpus of its contingency fund five times from Rs 400 crore to Rs 2,000 crore to meet the expenses to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and for treatment of patients.
A proposal in this regard made by the State’s Finance department was approved at the Cabinet meeting here chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
As there is no budgetary provision for the funds required for the pandemic situation, the cabinet approved the proposal to raise the contingency fund corpus five-fold, Odisha Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy said.
He said the fund will be utilised to meet the urgent and emergent needs for containment management and preventive measures.
An ordinance will come into force in this regard as Odisha Legislative Assembly is not in session, Tripathy said.
The cabinet also discussed expansion of Coronavirus testing facility in the state.
Health and Family Welfare Minister Naba Das said it has been decided to start Coronavirus testing at MKCG Medical College Hospital in Berhampur from April 12, at VIMSAR in Burla from April 15 and at IGH in Rourkela from April 17.
Besides, the cabinet has also approved a proposal to purchase ICMR recognised COVID-19 rapid testing kits, the state chief secretary said, adding that one lakh rapid testing kits will be purchased soon so that more COVID-19 tests can be conducted.
He said the cabinet has approved a ratification proposal in Epidemic Act-1897, through an ordinance.
As per the ordinance, the amount of punishment has been enhanced in the Act, he said.
Every offence shall be considered cognizable and bailable. The maximum punishment will be 2 years of imprisonment or a fine of Rs 10,000 or both, Tripathy said.
With the cabinet’s approval of ratification in Odisha COVID-19, 2020 regulations, wearing masks in public places has become compulsory and a fine up to Rs 500 shall be imposed for not wearing a mask, he said.
Meanwhile, a 100-bed dedicated COVID-19 hospital has started functioning in the hostel of Centurion University in Gajapati District from Thursday.
With this, the number of beds in COVID-19 hospitals at Cuttack, Jajpur, Keonjhar (Joda), Puri, Rourkela along with 2 hospitals in Bhubaneswar has reached 1,597, said the government’s COVID-19 spokesman Subroto Bagchi.