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Toy clarifies one-time financial assistance to stranded Nagaland citizens

By EMN Updated: May 14, 2020 8:46 pm

Our Correspondent
Kohima May 14 (EMN):
Nagaland Chief Secretary Temjen Toy on Thursday said that the government of Nagaland is aware of complaints about the eligibility criteria for the ‘one-time assistance’ of INR 10,000 to stranded citizens who decide to stay back in the states they are currently in.

Speaking to Eastern Mirror, Toy assured that the government will be taking a call on the matter soon, adding that it has not decided on anything yet.

Earlier, the Nagaland government had stated that the financial assistance would be provided only to those who had registered in the ‘Returnee Declaration Form.’

The chief secretary said more than 18,000 people have applied to come back to the state, and the government has been carrying out a detailed verification process.  

When some of the applicants were asked why they wanted to return, Toy said, most of them cited financial difficulties even though they do not want to travel in this situation.

“So, they said if they are given some financial assistance, they will not come back,” he said, adding that it had prompted the state government to announce the ‘one-time assistance.’

‘This assistance was aimed at those people who registered to come back but would rather stay if financial assistance is given. Those who did not apply to come back, we assumed that they had the means to stay on. That was the reason,’ Toy said.

Further, the chief secretary informed that the state government is planning to arrange the first train that will be bringing stranded citizens from Chennai. 

“We need to take the permission of the Tamil Nadu government. All those people who have applied will need to fill forms, and the government of Tamil Nadu will have to make arrangements for their transportation to the railway stations,” he explained and saying that many things are involved.

“We have started working on the logistics,” he said.

Reconsider criteria

Following the announcement of one-time assistance, a number of Nagaland citizens stranded in other states took to social media platforms to appeal to the state government to reconsider the plan.

Speaking to Eastern Mirror, Vechikho Rhakho, president of the Chakhesang Union Bangalore, said that the one-time monetary assistance INR 10,000 should be ‘given to those who opted to stay back in the first place’ and not only those who filled the returnee form.

He appealed to the state government to review the eligibility criteria.

Considering the standard of living in the city, he said that INR 10,000 is just a month’s house rent and people have stuck for months now.

‘People are facing difficulties out here and waiting to return home. They would be happier to be home than stay here,’ he said.

However, he clarified that on a personal level, he will not recommend people to return home as far as possible because one cannot take the risk while travelling.

Also, the Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) appealed to the state government to revise the criteria.

In a press release issued on Thursday, the student body, while appreciating the state government’s initiative of extending one-time assistance, pointed out that the criteria is not doing justice to the purpose it seeks to achieve.

“It has been communicated to the federation that many stranded citizens did not register in ‘Returnee Declaration Form’ and volunteered to delay their journey considering the impending difficulties facing the state,” read the press release from the NSF.

Stating that the stranded citizens are confronted with the daily struggle to meet their basic needs, the student body called upon the government to grant financial assistance even to those not registered in the returnee declaration form, irrespective of the region where they are presently stranded.

Likewise, it also appealed the government to extend the deadline to avail the same by a reasonable period.

By EMN Updated: May 14, 2020 8:46:17 pm