Effective lockdown continues in N-E, police act tough

Guwahati/Agartala, March 25 (IANS): As lockdown continued effectively across the northeastern region of India on Wednesday, the police detained around 200 people in different states for violating the enforcement, officials said.

 

The authorities, especially the health services officials, have further maximized their efforts and campaigns against the COVID-19, after a 50-year-old man, a Christian pastor from Mizoram, was tested positive for the novel coronavirus, making it the second case in the northeastern region after the a 23-year-old Manipuri woman tested positive.

 

The Mizo man had returned to Aizawl from Amsterdam, Netharland via Delhi and Guwahati on March 16 while the Manipuri girl returned from the United Kingdom on March 21 via Delhi, Kolkata and Agartala.

 

During the lockdown period, the state governments of the seven northeastern states also announced a slew of diverse sops and free rice supply and financial support to the poor, especially the daily wagers, besides medical help.

 

In the lockdown period, banking services, shops and markets dealing with groceries, vegetables, medicine, milk, cooking gas, and petrol pumps would remain open in most of the northeastern states. Most state governments also arranged alternate duty roster for their employees, asking a large number of government staff to come to office alternatively and to work from their homes.

 

However, just before and during the lockdown period, the prices of various essentials, vegetables, meat, rice, and other commodities including soaps and disinfectants are soaring up. Availability of transport fuel becomes scarce. People are facing a tough time to collect their essentials in view of the closures of public transport and various other government restrictions.

 

In Assam, a large number of people came out on roads in Kamrup, Nalbari, Karimganj and Nagaon districts violating prohibitory orders amid the lockdown. Security forces resorted to lathicharge against several lockdown violators.

 

Police and district administration officials through public address systems have alerted the people not to come out on roads and avoid mass gatherings to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

 

Assam Chief Minister SarbanandaSonowal, who had earlier directed district Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police to ensure that there is no shortage of essential commodities in the state, said on Wednesday that the state has enough stocks of foodgrains for two-and-a-half months.

 

He appealed to the people to follow the 21-day lockdown to maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of the COVID-19.

 

In Tripura, commercial bank authorities announced that the business hours of the bank branches in the state would be restricted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m till March 31.

 

The Tripura Urban Development Department has asked all urban local bodies to set up kitchens for preparing cooked food and distributing it twice a day among the urban poor. "Reputed Self Help Group can be engaged for cooking, packging and distributing packed foods to the urban poor families at their doorstep," Urban Development Department Director Shailesh K. Yadav said in a letter to all urban local bodies across Tripura.

 

The Tripura Newspaper Society, the apex body of newspaper owners and editors, have decided to suspend publication of newspapers till March 31 as the hawkers are reluctant to carry on distribution of newspapers.

 

In a noble gesture, the Tripura High Court judge ArindamLodh on Wednesday personally donated Rs one lakh to the Chief Minister''s relief fund and Rs 50,000 to Tripura Medical College to meet the expenses for fighting coronavirus.

 

The Airport Authority of India has also donated Rs 10 lakh from their Corporate Social Responsibility fund for helping and boosting the fight against the COVID-19.