Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio  Credit: File image

Kohima: “Virus might come in Nagaland which is a green zone, if people staying outside come [back]. However we cannot disown our children, brothers and sisters,” said chief minister Nagaland Neiphiu Rio as he addressed civil society organizations (CSOs) in Dimapur on Wednesday.

During the emergency meeting at Rhododendron hall, Police complex Chumukedima, Dimapur, Rio sought the suggestions from civil society groups on how to handle the return of stranded citizens from other states.

He said that with the resumption of rail services, individuals may return to the state on their own. He added that although people returning to the state could bring the virus, they cannot be disowned.

The chief minister expressed satisfaction with the arrangements at the quarantine facilities in Dimapur. He pointed out that the lockdown has been implemented strictly at the village level.

He then emphasized on the need to contain the virus while continuing with economic activity by maintaining a balance. He informed that like many state, Nagaland has also imposed the petroleum cess as a measure to enhance the preparedness of the state to fight COVID-19. He also added that the imposition of the cess will be reviewed in future. “You tax the rich to help and support the poor is the government’s policy,” said Rio.

Reacting to the prime ministers 20 lakh crore financial bailout package, he said that the states have been asked to prepare proposals for agriculture and allied infrastructure.

Rio informed that consultants will be engaged to make Nagaland a new Nagaland by taking the COVID crisis as a wake-up call.

A new standard operating procedure to be issued

Nagaland Chief Secretary, Temjen Toy informed that over 18000 stranded Nagas have registered with the govt to return. While the state government has been working on a detailed plan, he said that with the central government’s decision to operate normal passenger trains, a new standard operating procedure (SOP) will be issued.

He informed that 70% of returnees from other states will be quarantined at Dimapur and 30% will be quarantined in Kohima as per advice from the health department. He also clarified that Rs 10000 offered by 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 also informed that for the convenience of the returnees and for arrangements to be made properly, the window period will be extended if needed.

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