Chennai, Sep 23 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to release Rs 5,321 crore to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and for procurement of paddy.
He also requested Modi to meet at least 50 per cent of the cost of RT-PCR tests from PM-CARES fund.
Palaniswami speaking at a video conference meeting with Modi said the state has received Rs 511.64 crore from the central government in two tranches under the Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness package out of an envelope of Rs 712.64 crore allotted to Tamil Nadu.
“I request this package for Tamil Nadu may be stepped up to Rs 3,000 crore as per my earlier request. This will help us to further strengthen our health infrastructure,” Palaniswami said.
The Chief Minister also asked for an ad hoc grant of Rs 1,000 crore from National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) as the state has fully exhausted the State Disaster Response and Mitigation Fund.
Palaniswami reiterated the demand for the release of Rs 1,321 crore towards custom milled rice (CMR) subsidy to facilitate paddy procurement.
He said Tamil Nadu is continuing its strategy of aggressive, targeted testing and is currently conducting the maximum number of RT-PCR tests in the country to detect coronavirus infection.
Tamil Nadu presently has 176 labs for Covid-19 testing, with 66 government and 110 private labs, with an average testing capacity of 85,000 RT-PCR tests per day.
As on date, 66,40,058 samples have been tested for Covid-19, out of which 5,52,674 persons were tested positive and there are only 46,350 active cases in the state currently, Palaniswami told Modi.
“These tests cost nearly Rs 6.8 crore a day. I request Government of India to fund at least 50 per cent of the cost of the RT-PCR tests from the PM-CARES fund as the state is facing financial difficulties for incurring such expenses continuously,” Palaniswami said.
He said at 1.62 per cent the state has the lowest Covid-19 death rate. Deaths due to Covid-19 have also been reduced from an average of 100 deaths per day to around 70 deaths per day.
As on date, 497,377 patients have recovered, which works out to a recovery rate of about 90 per cent, one of the highest in the country.
Further the Covid-19 positivity rate has also come down from 10.47 per cent in July, 2020 to 6.2 per cent now.