Refuting charges made by Opposition leader M.K. Stalin, Chief Minister Edappadi.K. Palaniswami said that Tamil Nadu leads in COVID-19 preventive measures in the country.
Talking to media persons after holding a review meeting on COVID-19 preventive measures and the Kudimaramathu works in Salem at the District Collectorate, Mr. Palaniswami said, Opposition leader Mr. Stalin says that the government has failed in preventing the spread of COVID-19 disease. Tamil Nadu leads in preventive measures in the country. Medical experts and those who underwent treatment are appreciating the governments measures. Anybody could get affected with the virus. In India, Tamil Nadu leads in testing and we have the highest number of labs in the country at 67 labs.
Appreciating the efforts of doctors, nurses, healthcare and sanitary workers who are working day and night despite the risks involved, Mr. Palaniswami said that 3,85,185 tests have been done for 3,67,939 persons in the State and there are only 7,524 active cases.
The State government is taking the right measures to control the spread of the disease in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Central government and medical experts, he noted.
Not received requested amount of funds
When asked whether the Centre has provided sufficient funds to the State, Mr. Palaniswami said that though funds are being provided, they have not received the requested amount from the Centre.
On the Central government not releasing GST dues of the State despite the financial crisis here, the Chief Minister said the entire world was facing an economic crisis and the Centre has promised to provide the GST dues.
But our GST revenues for the months of April, May and for a week in March have reduced. The Finance Department has calculated the loss to amount about 35,000 crore and the State government is taking various measures to manage the loss without stalling development projects. Only if there are development projects, would there be job opportunities for the public, he said.
No community transmission in Chennai
Regarding the increase in the number of cases in Chennai, Mr. Palaniswami said that there was no community spread in Chennai and cases were reported from containment areas where six-seven persons were living in cramped houses, close to each other. If they had taken necessary precautionary measures, this transmission would not have happened.
The government has been issuing necessary advisories regularly and advising the public to take necessary precautionary measures, wear masks and keep their toilets and houses clean. But no one seems to be following it, hence the cases have increased. As far as Chennai is concerned, only certain areas are affected, he said.
On operating public transportation after May 31, he said that a decision would be taken based on the Centres announcements and on the advice of medical experts who would meet soon.
On possibilities of operating all businesses in districts where there are no active cases, he said that necessary steps are being taken by the State government in this regard but there are more people returning here from other States. About 719 persons who have returned from other States have tested positive for COVID-19 here. If all restrictions are removed, it could lead to community transmission here and we wouldnt be able to control it. Hence, the government has issued some restrictions to contain the spread of the disease, he said.
On conducting SSLC examinations, he said the examinations are being conducted from June 15 based on requests from the public as 15 States have already completed the examinations and even completed correction of answer scripts. All necessary arrangements would be made for students to take the examinations and it would be held according to the Centres guidelines, he said.
Government has no role in DMK MPs arrest
On the arrest of DMK Parliamentarian R.S. Bharathi, Mr. Palaniswami said that the government has no role in his arrest and he was arrested based on a case registered against him under the SC/ST Act for certain remarks made about listed communities based on a complaint filed at the Teynampet police station.
Mr. Stalin is spreading a rumour for political gains and we strongly condemn this. Mr. Stalin has issued a statement to create sympathy and it is highly condemnable. As Opposition leader, he should condemn his party member for speaking in such a low manner, he said.
To a question, the Chief Minister said that he is not aware of any corruption complaint filed by Mr. Bharathi. They are spreading false news to project themselves. He has charged that tenders are being allocated to only certain persons under this government. Unlike in the DMK regime, an e-tender process is followed and anyone eligible can take part in the tender, he said.