A fireman lying on national highway 8 in Panisagar after being lynched by the angry mob on November 21 last Credit: Abhishek Saha

Agartala: 2020 has been a testing time for people as the pandemic killed millions in several countries. As people wait to welcome 2021 with hope and anticipation here are some of the big events which made the headlines throughout 2020.

January

The year started amidst protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) across North East and India. In Tripura, BJP’s ally Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) launched sit-in indefinite protest demanding separate Tipraland. They also demanded the scrapping of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in Khumulwng, the headquarters of TTAADC.

The Tripura Rajya Upajati Ganamukti Parishad, an indigenous wing of the CPI(M), announced a nine-day mass sit-in demonstration starting from January 17.

A mass sit-in demonstration was held across all the sub-divisions to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).

The months also witnessed a historic signing of the quadripartite agreement between Tripura and Mizoram governments, various Bru organisations, and the Centre. The agreement aims to settle over 30,000 Bru migrants here in Tripura.

Padma Shri recipient and eminent surgeon Dr Rathin Dutta breathed his last on January 27 in his Kolkata residence due to old-age ailments.

Dutta was the first person from Tripura to receive the Fellowship of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons (FRCS). He had served as the director of the health service and special secretary (Health) in the government of Tripura.

Also Read: Bru pact: Political parties react, NGOs express disappointment

February

The High Court of Tripura on February 1, granted bail to the former PWD minister and deputy opposition leader Badal Choudhury, 87 days after he was arrested by the police in connection with the alleged PWD scam amounting more than Rs 600 crore.

Choudhury along with the former PWD chief engineer Sunil Bhowmik and former chief secretary YP Singh were booked by the police on October 13 last year in connection with an alleged scam that took place during 2008-09 financial years in the previous left front government regime.

Also Read: Tripura PWD scam: HC grants bail to ex-minister Badal Choudhury

March

With the number of novel coronavirus increasing across the country, the state government announced the closure of all schools, colleges and universities, cinema halls, swimming pools, gyms from March 17 to March 31 this year in the first phase.

The streets of Agartala and other parts of the state wore a deserted look on March 22 in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for ‘Janta Curfew’ as a precautionary measure against the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

April

On April 06 reported its first novel coronavirus aka COVID-19 case after a 45-year-old woman from Udaipur tested positive at the Agartala Government Medical College & GBP Hospital.

However, ten days after undergoing treatment in the GBP hospital, she tested negative and was discharged.

On April 10, the Tripura government invoked the Essential Services Management Act (ESMA) to contain the spread of novel coronavirus aka COVID-19 in the state.

The act ensured certain services, which, if obstructed, would affect the normal life of the people. This included services like hospitals, public transport, banking, sanitation and water supply, among others.

On April 28, the Tripura government made face masks and face covers compulsory in government offices and PSUs.

To ensure that face masks are used in the offices, particularly in the corridors, meetings and rooms having one or more persons there is the need to impose a penalty of Rs 100 for the first offence and Rs 200 for substituent ones.

Also Read: Tripura makes wearing face covers compulsory for govt employees

May

The Tripura government decided to revise the compensation from Rs 4 lakh to Rs 10 lakh for COVID-19 related deaths of any frontline worker, announced chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb on May 7.

Deb said that the state government would provide an amount of Rs 10 lakh to the families of the frontline workers, in case of deaths, including doctors, nurses, health workers, paramedics, police personnel, journalists, sweeping staffers, ICP staffers, Asha workers, civil administration officials and line departments along with all citizens.

On May 18, the former Tripura chief secretary G Kameshwara Rao took over as the administrator of the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), day after the tenure of the executive committee was dissolved.

Also Read: Tripura govt announces Rs 10 lakh compensation for COVID-19 deaths

June

Tripura registered the first COVID-19 related death on June 9, after a 42-year-old man who was admitted in Gobind Ballabh Pant hospital died fighting the virus.

The male patient from Chachu Bazaar was admitted at the GB Pant hospital on June 1 and his sample was collected for the test. He tested positive for the virus on June 3. Earlier the patient had suffered a stroke but later they took (LAMA) leave against medical advice due to financial constant.

Also Read: Tripura’s West district registers first COVID-19 related death

July

On July 1, Tripura cabinet approved a one-year relaxation in upper age limit over the existing upper-age limit, as per respective recruitment rules.

A one-time relaxation was given to the existing upper age limit of the posts for all categories, including unreserved and reserved, of candidates and government servants till December 31, 2020.

On July 4, Tripura launched the ‘Mukhyamantri Corona Pratirodh Abhiyan’, a month-long distribution programme of vitamin C-enriched, ready-to-eat pineapple slices and lemon juice to boost public immunity in urban areas and subdivision headquarters.

Tripura completed the work for constructing a floating jetty in Sonamura. This came three weeks after the signing of the 2nd Addendum on the protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade between India and Bangladesh.

August

After eight days of ‘total lockdown’, the Tripura government announced new unlock measures-1 outside containment zones till August 11. Meanwhile, lockdown measures in containment zones would continue till August 31.

Vehicles and person movement in containment zones would be restricted to the supply of essential goods & services, medical needs and livelihood related travel. Goods and services were delivered to people in the containment zones.

Over 1 lakh students attended neighbourhood classes in open places maintaining social distancing and other Covid-19 precautions on August 20.

Also Read: Tripura: Over 1 lakh school students attend neighbourhood classes on 1st day

September

The Sonamura-Daudkandi inland waterways protocol route became operational on September 5 as the Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb received the first vessel here at Sonamura port.

The first consignment of 10 tons of cement reached Sonamura port two days after it started from Munshiganj in Bangladesh.

Taking note of the state’s deteriorating COVID-19 situation, the Tripura High Court, on September 11, served notices to the state government asking them to produce details on preparedness by September 18.

The division bench comprising Chief Justice Akhil Kureshi and Justice Subhasish Talapatra served the notice with 8 questions to the state government on COVID-19 infrastructure.

Also Read: Tripura high court puts the state govt on notice over deteriorating COVID-19 situation

October

Journalists in Tripura wore black badges in protest against chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb’s statement on the media and his alleged attack over the freedom of speech and expression on Gandhi Jayanti on October 2.

The union minister for road transport & highways Nitin Gadkari on October 27 laid the foundation stone for nine national highway projects in Tripura through video conference from New Delhi and said that with the completion of these projects, the fate of Tripura would change.

The target of completing the 262 km national highway roads within a year and a half has been set with an estimated cost of Rs 2,752 crores.

November

A Joint Movement Committee consisting of Bengali and Mizo organisations has called for an indefinite strike from November 16, alleging breach of promise by the Tripura government in the resettlement of Bru migrants in Kanchanpur subdivision.

Five days after the protest, one person died, and two others were injured after the Tripura security forces allegedly opened fire on protesters on November 21 in Panisagar. The protesters had blocked the national highway against the resettlement of displaced Bru migrants in Kanchanpur sub-division.

The govt ordered a magisterial inquiry into the police firing which claimed the life of one protesting against the resettlement of displaced Brus in Kanchanpur and announced Rs 5 lakh as compensation to the deceased’s family.

Also Read: Bru resettlement: Tripura orders magisterial inquiry into firing on protestors

December

The month saw voices against Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb getting stronger as slogans of “Biplab hatao, BJP bachao” were raised by the supporters of dissenting leaders during the visit of state in-charge (prabhari) Vinod Sonkar on December 7 last.

Sonkar, who was in Tripura for a two-day visit, told reporters that there were no differences in the party. For a long time, the state in charge’s position was vacant, and there was no one to listen to the party workers.

A joint forum of three organisations under the banner of Joint Movement Committee (JMC) also launched an indefinite mass sit-in-demonstration to demand a permanent solution for the over 10,000 teachers who lost their jobs in Tripura.

This protest comes two months after Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb’s had assured the teachers of a permanent solution to their problems.

The selection of 10,323 teachers was conducted according to advertisements issued in 2002, 2006 and 2009, which was challenged before the High Court of Tripura by Tanmoy Nath and others. Later, the High Court of Tripura announced the termination of the teachers in 2014, which was later upheld by the Supreme Court in 2017.



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