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We can’t disown our own people — Rio

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By EMN Updated: May 14, 2020 12:36 am
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Seeks suggestions to efficiently handle possible influx of stranded citizens

Neiphiu Rio along other lawmakers and officials inspect the reception centre at the Agri Expo site Dimapur on May 13.

Dimapur, May 13 (EMN): Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Wednesday said there are chances of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) coming to Nagaland, which is until now a green zone, if stranded people return but “we cannot disown our own children/brothers and sisters.”

Rio said this while addressing an emergency meeting with all civil societies of Dimapur at the Rhododendron hall, Police complex Chümoukedima, on May 13 to seek their views, concerns, and suggestions with regard to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a DIPR update.

The chief minister informed that deportation of inter-district stranded people that began on May 7 would end on May 13 and that people from other states had started arriving on Tuesday evening after the Centre government relaxed the movement of trains and other modes of transport. Stating that people of the state stranded in other places might start arriving in large numbers, he sought the suggestions of the civil societies in order to handle such a situation efficiently.

Citing the lockdown being strictly maintained at village level, Rio said that ‘the DoNER minister lauded the NE people and asked other states to be disciplined like the people of the region.’

Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech on Tuesday, the chief minister reminded about the need to contain the spread of the virus as well as continue economic activities with a balance.

“If economic activities cannot carry on with the lockdown, we cannot take development forward, and therefore prime minister has decided that MPs fund will not be given for 2 years and 30 per cent of their salary will be deducted,” he said.

Talking about petrol cess, Rio said that such steps have been initiated in almost all the states for Covid-19 preparedness and improvement of hospitals but at the same time hinted that it will be reviewed according to the situation. You tax the rich to help and support the poor, is the government’s policy, he added.

Modi has announced INR 20 lakh crore to make India self-sufficient, for which states have been asked to prepare proposals with regard to agriculture and allied sectors and infrastructure, Rio informed, adding that expert consultants would be engaged in this regard. “Make Nagaland a new Nagaland by taking the Covid crisis as a wakeup call,” he encouraged.

The chief minister also expressed gratitude to the civil societies, church leaders, district administration police, and public for their concerted efforts in containing the spread of coronavirus and sincerely implementing the SOPs issued by the government. He also expressed satisfaction with the arrangements at the quarantine centres in Dimapur and asked civil societies leaders to visit the facilities.

18000 people want to come home

Chief Secretary Temjen Toy informed that 18,000 stranded people of the state have registered in the portal “iamstranded”, expressing their desire to come home. He maintained that Nagaland government was initially all set for deporting stranded people phase-wise, starting with inter-district, Northeast and then inter-state through special trains but it would issue new SOP as the Centre government has opened normal passenger trains.

Toy informed that 70 per cent of the stranded returnees from different states would be quarantined at Dimapur while 30 per cent would be sent at Kohima as per the advice of the medical department. He said all suggestions raised in the meeting were noted and told those who did not get time to speak, to apprise the Dimapur DC and APC Kikheto Sema, who is also the in-charge of Dimapur for Covid-19.

On INR 10000 relief

The chief secretary clarified that INR 10000 offered by the government to stranded persons was “not to appease them not to come home but to extend help if they do not desire to come home even after doing the registration and are facing financial problems”. He added that for the convenience of the returnees and also the arrangements to be properly set, window period will be extended if needed.

The government announced through a tweet on Wednesday that application for the relief, which was opened at 7 pm on May 13, will be closed at 7 pm on May 16.

Toy advised the district administration to bring out guidelines on use of PPE, wearing of masks and to educate the people who are helping the government in various in the fight against the pandemic. Expressing satisfaction with the various arrangements, he lauded Dimapur district for working tirelessly and systematically.

This shows that all are together; let us work hand in hand in fighting the virus, he added.

President Western Sumi Hoho Dr. Kakheto said at the meeting that ‘Nagas are modern yet uncivilised’, and “panicky because of ignorance”, informed the update from DIPR. While suggesting that the government arrange buses for deportation of stranded people, he said there are many compassionate Nagas who are ready to help.

Several leaders from civil society organisations like Chakrhoma Public Organisation, Western Chakesang Hoho, Lotha Hoho, Ao Senso Telongjem Dimapur, ENPO, Rengma Organisation Dimapur, Naga Women Hoho Dimapur, Dimapur District GB Association, DNSU, Dimapur Urban GB, Dimapur Christian Forum, Dimapur District Village Council Association also spoke during the meeting and expressed their desire to co-operate and work with the government.

The meeting was also attended by Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton, Health and Family Welfare minister Pangnyu Phom, Phed minister Jacob Zhimomi, Advisors Zhaleo Rio and Tovihoto, and other government officials.

Visit to reception, quarantine centres

Rio also inspected the reception and quarantine centres at Agri Expo site Dimapur on Wednesday, visiting the kitchen for the returnees and also the hall for medical screening, an update from DPRO Dimapur informed.

The chief minister also visited the new DCs office complex which has been converted into a quarantine centre. Expressing satisfaction with the overall arrangements, he lauded the district administration, police, civil societies and all concern for their contribution and participation in the fight against the Covid-19.

He was accompanied by lawmakers Y Patton, Pangnyu Phom and Jacob Zhimomi, advisors Tovihoto and Zhaleo Rio, and other government officials.

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By EMN Updated: May 14, 2020 12:36:32 am