Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy on Wednesday sought Rs 200 crore as an interim assistance from the Centre to meet the expenditure for taking up preventive measures against the spread of coronavirus in the union territory.
Speaking to reporters here, he said though the situation was not serious in the union territory and added "we cannot remain slack and take everything for granted. We should be fully alert and ensure that the spread of the infection is kept at bay".
Narayanasamy said he had written a letter to the prime minister requesting him to sanction the interim relief.
Making his contribution of Rs 45,000 in the form of a cheque to a especially-constituted fund (COVID 19 Relief Fund Puducherry) during the press conference, he said the amount he had donated was the pension he was getting as former Member of Parliament. He handed over the cheque to his personal secretary.
The territorial health minister also announced his one month salary as a contribution to the fund.
Narayanasamy said he would write to his counterparts in Andhra Pradesh and Telengana to contribute to the fund created in Puducherry for meeting the expenditure to purchase equipment and strengthening of infrastructure.
He said all legislators of Puducherry too contributed 30 per cent of their MLA Local Area Development Fund to the COVID 19 fund.
The lone Lok Sabha member from Puducherry, V Vaithilingam, had already donated Rs 36 lakh from the MPLAD fund to facilitate purchase of three ventilators to supplement facilities at the hospital.
The chief minister said out of the Rs 2.5 crore earmarked to the Health Department to purchase equipment, eight ventilators, two ECG apparatus and a few other equipment had been purchased which would be used in hospitals in the union territory.
Narayanasamy also warned that those violating the lockdown now in force to contain spread of COVID-19 would face stern action.
He said he had received reports that there was free movement of people in the suburban and rural areas in Puducherry and that the youth were particularly seen roaming around on their two-wheelers.
"Do not expose yourself to the risk of infection and hence remain indoors," he appealed to the people.
The chief minister said he had been repeatedly pointing out that "isolation is the only solution to keep the spread of the infection at bay. I, however, get reports that people did not heed the lockdown and in most of the areas they were moving about..."
He said there was full response on Sunday when 'Janta Curfew' was observed, adding that a similar response was required now also.
Narayanasamy said police action would be intensified and hence people should protect themselves against the risk by remaining indoors.
All government offices, except those engaged in meeting essential services, would remain closed for 21 days from Wednesday.
He also said people need not panic as essential commodities would be available, which included milk, vegetables and fruits while all medical shops would function as usual.
He appealed to people not to fall prey to rumours and false information being circulated on social media.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)