Restriction on public transport and unnecessary public movement will be imposed till March 31 Credit: EastMojo image

Agartala: Joining hands with other Northeastern states, the Tripura government announced a lockdown in the state to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) from 2 pm on Tuesday.

Speaking at a press conference, chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb said that the state government has decided to impose a lockdown in the state warning people not to step out of their house.

“The government would slap all possible charges under the penal provision of Epidemic Diseases Act including sedition charges on anyone found hoarding essential commodities or creating artificial price hike,” Deb said.

The lockdown will begin from Tuesday and would remain in force till March 31 with a restriction on public transport and unnecessary public movement. However, restriction may be extended after evaluating the situation at that time, Deb said.

Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb addressing a press conference in Agartala on Monday

“Emergency services like health, police and armed forces involved in law and order enforcement agencies, hotels, banks, ATMs, grocery shops and markets will remain functional. The government employees will attend office on a roster system to minimise the numbers,” Deb added.

He also warned the people not to provide shelter to anyone who has entered Indian territory illegally.

“The panchayat secretary and pradhan are instructed to keep an eye on the movement of the people in their areas. The government would not tolerate the negligence by any elected members if found,” Deb said.

Law minister Ratan Lal Nath, who was also present at the press conference, said that sufficient stock of food grains is available in the state government. “The state has two months’ stock and private traders have a month’s; so there is no need to be worried on the lockdown,” Nath said.

The state government will provide ration of 15 days to 5.86 lakh families of AAY and priority beneficiaries. Up to 18 kg of rice and dal to 2.66 lakh primary students per family and 25 kg of rice and dal to 1.65 lakh upper primary students who are receiving mid-day meals.

“We have decided to provide two months social pensions including April and May to 4 lakh people and for which Rs 72 crore was sanctioned,” Nath said.

Request to the Centre is also made so that the adequate LPG, petrol, kerosene, etc, are provided to the state. “We have also requested the government of Assam to allow the Tripura-bound vehicles of essential commodities to pass through Assam,” Nath added.

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