Stranded labourers are one of the many affected due to COVID-19

Shillong: While Meghalaya is on the verge of being COVID-19 free, the question now arises as to what the preparations would be by the government to tackle the return of stranded people who will be left jobless due to the ongoing crisis.

When asked, Meghalaya deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong on Wednesday said that the state’s bigger concern is to save lives and to work on how to get the stranded people back home. Jobs can be looked into later, he said.

Meanwhile, Meghalaya is working on the modalities on how to go about bringing back the stranded people. This move comes after the Centre issued an order relaxing the guidelines for movement of people stranded across the country.

“Right now, the committee headed by commissioner and secretary is still working out the modalities on how to bring back our relatives, friends, students and all those stranded outside the state,” said Tynsong.

“Modalities will involve setting up of a health team, village team, and even quarantine centres. We need to have a proper setup and a solid modality to be able to bring them back because sooner or later they will ultimately have to return to their homes. From the government’s end, we have to be ready with solid modalities and we need to carry along the local councils like headmen and the dorbars to be on board.”

So far, Meghalaya has over 10,000 people including students and employees stranded outside the state. Due to the prevailing situation, the government had even advised them to stay back in their respective places.

Financial assistance of Rs 3,000 was given to such people stranded in other states. Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma also informed that up to 10,287 applications were screened for CM’s Special Grant for stranded people. Details of 7,891 verified applicants were sent to the bank for disbursement.

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