Agartala: With the national lockdown over coronavirus pandemic completing more than a month, stories of several patients who went outside the state for medical treatment and getting stranded keep coming to the fore.
Shibram Kar, 58, has been stuck in Assam ever since the lockdown was first announced by PM Narendra Modi. The resident of Kakraban in Tripura’s Gomati district is a cancer patient and had travelled to Guwahati with his wife and daughter on March 20 to undergo treatment for tongue cancer at Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute.
“We reached Guwahati on March 20 and found that our appointment was fixed for April 8. We decided to stay at our relative’s place in Golaghat district until we finished the treatment, but in the meantime, the national lockdown was announced,” Kar said.
Following the lockdown, all of them were placed in 14 days’ home quarantine by the local authorities in Assam since they had a travel history across districts. “Once the quarantine period was over, we decided to reach Guwahati on April 15 but we were denied check-in at Tripura Bhawan where we had a room booked from April 7,” Kar added.
Attempts were made by the family members to contact the helpline numbers issued by the Tripura government, said Kar, but they haven’t got any response from anyone till date. “I have at least 10 phone numbers saved in my mobile and even after contacting so many times, we have not received any response so far. Please help us get back home,” Kar urged.
They were asked to fill up and submit a format provided by the authorities 20 days ago, but so far no assistance has been made available to them, lamented Kar.
Kar is not the only one. Several families have been stranded in different parts of the country struggling for food and shelter. While some said they did not have access to COVID helpline numbers, others said calling did not help them.
Manoshi Malakar, a resident of Dharmanagar from North Tripura district, has a similar story to share. She had travelled to Vellore in Tamil Nadu on March 18 for treatment but got stranded following the lockdown. “We booked an affordable hotel with Rs 400 per day excluding food bills. Now, we have a debt of Rs 24,000 with the hotel but no support from the authorities till date,” added.
Reacting on this issue, Laihlia Darlong, principal secretary of general administration, in charge of the relief operation, said that Rs 1.14 crore was given away to 3,132 persons stranded in different parts of the country as COVID-19 assistance.
An amount of Rs. 1,000 per day for people stranded in hotel rooms and Rs 150 per head as food allowance have been given. Migrant workers students or others stranded outside Tripura would receive only the food allowance, Darlong said, adding that all possible help for those stranded outside will be given.
As per reports made available from the state government, over 6,000 persons who are stranded in different parts of the country, have registered themselves for assistance with the authorities, while 3,132 have already received benefits through direct account transfer in bank accounts.
Earlier, chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb had announced that anyone stranded outside and staying in Tripura Bhawans — Kolkata, Guwahati and Delhi will be taken care by the government. Those stranded in other parts would receive financial assistance through direct bank transfer.
The state government had also announced a project of Rs 233 crore to deal with the situation arisen due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus pandemic.
The funds are being used to provide benefits to BPL and Antodaya Annapurna Yojana (AAY) beneficiaries in the Public Distribution System (PDS), financial assistance of Rs. 1,000 to each migrant labourers stranded in Tripura, Jumia farmers, newspaper vendors, flower cultivators, food for the homeless, advance payment of social pension beneficiaries.