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Spontaneous response to lockdown in NE states

Spontaneous response to lockdown in NE states
Image of Imphal tweeted by N Biren Singh
GUWAHATI/IMPHAL/AGARTALA/GANGTOK, MAR 24 (IANS) | Publish Date: 3/24/2020 12:24:55 PM IST

People from all walks of life, including traders and transporters, on Tuesday fully followed the lockdown, imposed on the seven northeastern states in a bid to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, officials said.

Manipur: The authorities, specially the health services officials, have further stepped up their efforts and campaign against the COVID-19, after a 23-year-old Manipuri woman who returned from the United Kingdom last week tested positive, making it the first case in the northeast region of India.

The woman, who is now undergoing treatment at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) in Imphal, did not reveal her travel history earlier before she was detected positive with the novel coronavirus.

The officials of the Manipur health services said that on March 19 the younger brother of the woman had arrived in Kolkata from Atlanta. Both stayed in a hotel in Kolkata and arrived in Manipur capital Imphal on March 21 by a private airliner via Agartala airport (Tripura) along with 108 other passengers.

Majority of the northeastern states declared the lockdown until March 31, while Nagaland enforced it for indefinite period, Mizoram till March 29 and Meghalaya imposed the lockdown until March 29 with a break on March 26 to facilitate people to buy essential items and daily necessities. During the lockdown period, various state governments of the region also announced a diverse sops and free rice supply and financial supports to the working class people especially the daily wage earners besides medical help.

In the lockdown period, banking services, shops and markets dealing with groceries, vegetables, medicine, milk, cooking gas, and petrol pumps would remain open in most of the northeastern states.

Most state governments also arranged alternate duty roster for their employees asking a large numbers of government staffs to come to office alternatively and to work from their residence.

However, just before and during the lockdown period, prices of various essentials, vegetables, meat, rice, and other commodities including soaps and disinfectants are soaring up. Availability of transport fuel becomes scarce.

The officials of the enforcement departments of various northeastern states are visiting in the markets to check the prices of the essentials, vegetables, meat, rice, and other supplies.

 Assam: Assam Health and Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb warned the traders and suppliers to take stern actions if they increase the prices of the essentials and try to hoard the commodities especially rice, potato and onion. In Guwahati, Sarma had urged people not to frighten as basic essential services would be available during the lockdown period.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has directed district Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police to ensure that there is no shortage of essential commodities in the state.

Agartala:  In Agartala, according to Tripura Chief Secretary Manoj Kumar, 11 passengers, who came to Agartala with the same flight of novel coronavirus (nCoV) infected Manipuri girl are in home quarantine and another 47 people arrived in Tripura from abroad are in special surveillance.

He said the state, district and sub-divisional control rooms are being opened to monitor the situation round-the-clock.

Sikkim: Sikkim will be placed under lockdown from 6 am on Wednesday till March 31 to check the spread of coronavirus, a senior official announced.

Jacob Khaling Rai, the political secretary to Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang, said in a video message that the decision was taken in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Sikkim has not reported any positive case of coronavirus, which has infected nearly 500 people in the country. During this week-long lockdown, all shops and business establishments will remain shut throughout the state, he said.

 Private vehicles and taxis will not be allowed to ply, Rai said.

 Essential services such as pharmacies, petrol pumps, LPG supply and movement of government and Army vehicles have been kept out of the purview of the lockdown.

 Other essential services such as telecom, internet, postal, banks and ATMs will remain operational during the period. Civil defense personnel will also be exempted. 

Meghalaya: The Meghalaya government on Monday shut down 17 government departments till March 31 and imposed curfew in two districts in view of the coronavirus outbreak, officials said.

Over 16,000 people, who returned from other states, have been screened for COVID-19 at Byrnihat in Ri-Bhoi district bordering Assam till date, they said.

Private vehicles will be allowed to ply in the state capital on odd and even numbers alternately, beginning with odd numbers on March 24, a government order said.

 District authorities in Ri-Bhoi have declared night curfew from 10 pm on March 23 to 6 am on March 24, while curfew has been imposed in the entire East Jaintia Hills from Monday midnight till March 31 as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the officials said.  Both districts are bordering Assam as a result maximum movement of people and vehicles take place via this route to other states, including Mizoram and Tripura.

 Ri-Bhoi District Magistrate R M Kurbah informed that the curfew was imposed in the district to prevent people from entering the state or a group of people roaming in the district without valid reasons at night.

 East Jaintia Hills district SP P Vivekanand Singh said curfew has been imposed in the entire district from Monday midnight till March 31 as a precautionary measure in view of the COVID-19 outbreak.

 Markets, commercial and financial establishments, all forms of public transport have been shut down till March 31.

 Three temporary markets for vegetables and meat have been set up in the outskirts of state capital in view of the current COVID-19 crisis, East Khasi Hills district officials said.

 The state government has also activated the district emergency operation centres in East Khasi Hills district, District Magistrate Matsiewdor W Nongbri said.

 The state government has also announced relief for the distressed construction workers and contractual employees affected by the shutdown.

 The state government has also announced Rs 1,000 relief per week for the distressed construction workers, Principal Secretary of the Labour Department, D P Wahlang said.

 The department has decided and approved to pay an amount of Rs 1,000 only per worker per week for the wages foregone on account of the shutdown on commercial operations and business establishments in the state of Meghalaya, Wahlang said in a statement.  The order will be applicable for the week from March 23 to March 29 and will be reviewed again the next day, he said.

 At least 30,000 persons registered with the government will benefit from this initiative of the state government, another government official said.

 The state government has also warned private and public establishments not to terminate or force their employees to go on leave without wages, Wahlang said.  Transport department commissioner and secretary M R Synrem has issued restraint order on movements of private vehicles in the state except those on essential duties and government duties.

 On Sunday, the Meghalaya government restricted entry of people from other states in view of the coronavirus threat. 

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