We are herewith releasing the text of the letter addressed to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi by CPI(M) General Secretary, Sitaram Yechury, on the grave health emergency with the surging Covid-19 pandemic, in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands and the necessity to take urgent measures to protect lives and provide relief to people. The letter was delivered today.
Shri Narendra Modi
Hon’ble Prime Minister
Government of India
Dear Pradhan Mantri ji,
I have seen the media reports regarding your address to your party workers in Andaman & Nicobar Islands. You have, re-announced a high-speed broadband connectivity to the islands. This was decided by the Government of India many years ago and, according to reports, the work on laying the underwater cables from Chennai had already begun. However, any measure to improve the living conditions in the islands is most welcome.
In this time of a grave health emergency with the surging Covid-19 pandemic, it is necessary that the Central Government take urgent measures to protect lives and provide relief to people. All of us are aware of the large distances between the islands of Andaman & Nicobar. As the Covid cases are growing and the deaths are mounting, it is appalling to note that there is only one centre for testing and only one Covid hospital for all the islands, which is in Port Blair. The testing conducted here takes eight days for the results be known, by which time the patient would have moved into a very critical and irretrievable respiratory condition. 18 doctors in this Covid hospital have contracted the virus.
Northern Andamans, which is home to half the population of the islands, is far away from Port Blair and takes many days for a patient to reach this Covid hospital.
Under these conditions, it is absolutely imperative that more Covid testing centres are opened; the time for the results must be reduced by providing facilities on the islands; more health centres capable of treating Covid patients must be established in as many places in the islands as possible and adequate relief to the people, on a war-footing.
The Andaman & Nicobar Islands are a Union Territory coming directly under the administrative control of the Union Home Ministry. There are no elected bodies on the islands. Hence, people have no recourse to appeal for help except to the administration.
Since the administration on the islands comes under the direct control of your government, I am appealing to you to urgently intervene and take, at least, the above mentioned necessary measures on a war-footing.