Guwahati/Agartala, April 20 (IANS) With no fresh positive coronavirus cases reported in the past 48 hours from any of the eight northeastern states, some economic activities were restarted on Monday following the centre’s guidelines and advices, ministers and officials said.
Chief Ministers, Ministers and top officials briefed the media in the respective state capitals about the economic and manufacturing activities partially resumed in all the northeastern states maintaining the lockdown and social distancing guidelines.
Works in around 850 tea gardens in Assam and Tripura had started last week while all liquor shops and wholesale warehouses in Assam and Meghalaya re-opened on April 13 for limited hours and stipulated days.
According to Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, of the 34 novel coronavirus positive cases found so far in Assam out of which one had died, 19 patients have so far been released from the hospital as they recovered from the dreaded disease and the remaining would be discharged from hospitals soon.
Briefing the media in Guwahati, he said that to accelerate the process of sample tests, the health workers would start ‘rapid testing’ on suspected Covid patients from Wednesday in selected places in Assam.
“The state has received the first installment of 10,000 rapid test kits from the ICMR (Indian Council for Medical Research) and the state government on its own has started the process of procuring more 50,000 rapid test kits soon.The rapid test kits would facilitate ascertain whether one is novel coronavirus positive or negative in just 15 minutes,” Sarma said.
Sarma also said that with the virus case load decreasing, the medical colleges and civil hospitals in Assam would be opened for general patients from April 24.
Assam Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna announced relaxation in several sectors and activities. He told the media in Guwahati that all the state government offices would be opened from April 21. “Right from the Deputy Secretaries to the high-level officials of the Assam Secretariat will have to attend their respective office regularly,” he said.
In Agartala, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb explained in detail about the sectors where works are being allowed maintaining the social distance, lockdown guidelines and government’s do’s & don’ts.
According to Deb, the industrial units and establishments would be allowed to operate include manufacturing of fertilisers, pesticides, and animal feeds, essential goods including drugs, IT hardwares, seeds, works in tea gardens, rubber and bamboo plantations, processing, packaging, rural and food processing industries, sale and marketing of tea, coffee, rubber, cashew, production of coal and minerals, refineries, oil and gas exploration, and brick kilns with maximum of 50 per cent workers.
Besides, MGNREGS and limited construction works were also allowed.
In Mizoram, many government sponsored programmes are giving relief to the poor people to minimize the economic impact due to the spread of Covid-19 and ongoing lockdown.
With the MNREGS works coming into force in this period, peole have started getting wages in their bank accounts. The state government has also increased the MNREGS wage to Rs 225 per day per person.
An official of Mizoram’s Food and Civil Supplies Department said that notified poor people are presently getting free ration and various other benefits under various flagship schemes.