Nagaland minister dies of Covid-19 complications, death toll climbs to 18

Nagaland’s environment minister C M Chang died of Covid-19 complications on Monday in the state capital, officials said. He was 77.

Chang, a retired IAS officer and former Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha (2009-13), who tested positive for Covid-19 was undergoing treatment at the Naga Hospital Authority Kohima (NHAK) for several underlying health problems, sources said.

State Nodal Officer for Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme, Dr. Nyan Kikon said Chang’s death has taken the tally of Covid-19 fatalities in the state to 18 while six deaths are still under investigation. Nagaland’s total active Covid-19 cases stood at 7,240 on October 12.

The state government has announced a two-day mourning period from October 13 to October 14 as a mark of respect to the minister during which the national flag will be flown at half mast and there will be no official entertainment. A state funeral will also be accorded to Chang.

Chang was elected to the Nagaland Legislative Assembly from 51 Noksen constituency under Tuensang district in 2013 and later retained the same seat in 2018 on Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) ticket.

In a condolence message, chief minister Neiphiu Rio described Chang as a forthright, good-natured and a fine gentleman who had made significant sacrifices for the welfare of society.

“He (Chang) was a close friend of mine for several years and we shared a close working relationship for decades. He was like a brother, a trusted advisor and a loyal associate. I am unable to fully express the loss, especially at this juncture,” stated Rio.

Nagaland Governor R.N. Ravi expressed shock over the demise of Chang and said the minister would be remembered for his contribution to the state of Nagaland as an able administrator, a prominent parliamentarian, a minister and a hugely popular public figure.

“In his demise, not only has the Chang community lost a tall leader but is a loss for the entire state and the country,” Ravi stated while conveying his condolences to Chang’s family.

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