Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu during a meeting on Thursday Credit: EastMojo image

Itanagar: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu held a detailed discussion on ‘The way forward’ after June 30 when Unlock 1 ends and the state slowly opens up for normal activities. The meeting follows a video conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, where he asked the states to prepare for Unlock 2.

The meeting sought suggestions from all stakeholders to finalise the Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) after June 30. Leaders of all political parties – BJP, INC, PPA, NPP and JDU, community-based organisations represented by Arunachal Indigenous Tribes Forum (AITF) and All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) participated in the meeting.

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Deputy chief minister Chowna Mein, Speaker P D Sona, home minister Bamang Felix, health minister Alo Libang, education minister Taba Tedir, the Chief Secretary, Director General of Police, Home Commissioner, Health Secretary, Education Secretary, authorities of the state COVID Task Force and Health officials were also present in the day-long meeting.

Important issues were flagged and discussed include re-opening of schools and colleges, guidelines for return of stranded people, hiring of labour, quarantine facilities, sample testing, etc.

While discussing minutely over each issue, members present appreciated the government for successfully tackling the COVID19 pandemic. Most, however, emphasized that ‘the war’ was not over and the government still needs to approach with caution in opening up normal activities.

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CM Pema Khandu assured that all suggestions put up by the members will be considered in finalizing the SoP for Unlock 2.

He informed that about 14,000 stranded people have returned to the state, who have been put under institutional quarantine and sent for home quarantine only when tested negative for two consecutive times as per current SoP.

He said a timeline will be given for people from the state outside to return probably by June 30. Those returning after the timeline will have to bear the minimum cost of institutional quarantine. However, state government will continue to bear the expenses of the swab test. At the moment all expenses, both institutional quarantine and test, are being borne by the state government.

He also said that 5-day mandatory institutional quarantine followed by RT-PCR test of swab samples twice will apply to all returnees including government officials of all ranks.

Essential service providers like telecom, power, health, etc. technicians and also labours procured for essential services will also need to follow the said SoP.

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Schools will not reopen before August

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As for reopening schools is concerned, Khandu said that schools would not reopen before August. The government will take a review on prevailing conditions in July and decide after receiving guidelines from the Human Resources Ministry. Colleges under Rajiv Gandhi University will reopen as per directives of the University Grant Commission (UGC), he informed. As COVID19 is an evolving virus, Khandu said everybody, especially the healthcare specialists, are still in a learning process and dealing it with every discovery. “This pandemic has taught us a good lesson. We now know the significance of a robust healthcare system and the importance of self-sufficiency – atmanirbhar! We as Team Arunachal are committed to work in these two sectors seriously,” he added.

INC was represented by former Chief Minister and State Congress president Nabam Tuki, BJP by state president Biyuram Wahge and general secretary Chow Zignu Namchoom, PPA by chairman Kamen Ringu, NPP by president Gicho Kabak and vice president Nima Sangey, JDU by its president Ruhi Tugung, AITF by its president Bengia Tolum and general secretary Montu Mossang and AAPSU was represented by president Hawa Bagang and general secretary Tobom Dai.

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