Lockdown partially lifted in state
IMPHAL, 20th Apr: Even as the state cabinet decided to exempt certain sectors and activities from purview of the nationwide lockdown with immediate effect, Trade, Commerce and Industries minister Thongam Biswajit Singh has announced that in sync with the Central government’s directives, industries based in rural areas of the state including all Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) could resume normal operation from Tuesday.
Subsequent to instructions from the Ministry of Home Affairs regarding exemption of certain activities from purview of the lockdown being enforced to contain COVID-19, the cabinet meeting held Monday has exempted activities in 15 different key areas till May 3.
As per an order issued by chief secretary J Suresh Babu on Monday, the list of exempted activities are Supply of Essential Goods covering home delivery of essential commodities; locality based retails shops dealing with essential commodities like groceries, vegetables, fruits, poultry meat and fish in all districts from 6 am to 2 pm on all days except Sundays while maintaining social distancing and compulsorily wearing masks by all; wholesale markets in Imphal on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for sale to retails shops as per permit issued by DC. Movement of people on vehicles remains restricted except for pass holders.
Activities exempted under movement of cargo and goods category include all goods vehicles to cross inter-state border at Mao, Jiribam and Jessami; movement of all trucks and other carrier vehicles with two drivers and one helper including empty trucks after delivery of goods or for pickup of goods; shops for truck repairs and dhabas on highways with social distancing prescribed.
However, all drivers and helpers of trucks who enter the state from outside shall mandatorily follow the Standard Operating Protocol already notified by the home department and other instructions issued by the health and transport departments. Any person visiting their homes shall remain under home quarantine as per the advice of health department, the order stated.
Exempted activities under health related activities are hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and dispensaries; all chemists, pharmacies and all kinds of medicine shops including Jan Aushadhi Kendras and medical equipment shops; medical laboratories and collection centres; veterinary hospitals, dispensaries, clinics and related pathological laboratories and sale and supply of vaccines.
Under public utilities, distribution of LPG through home delivery system; postal services including post office; telecommunication and internet services; operation of water/sanitation and waste management sectors; petrol pumps will be allowed to operate. Separate orders will be issued for regulations regarding functioning of petrol pumps.
In agricultural and related activities, farming operations by farmers and farm workers in field in rural areas; agencies engaged in procurement of agricultural produce including farmer producers’ companies have been exempted.
Operations of fish farms and fishing; and fish feed plants are also exempted under fisheries sector. In the animal husbandry sector, the relaxation will be on collection, processing, distribution and sale of milk and milk products; operation of poultry farms and hatcheries, piggery and dairy development; animal feed manufacturing have been exempted.
With regard to the finance sector, Reserve Bank of India and RBI regulated financial market; and bank branches and ATMs and business correspondents will be allowed to operate.
Activities exempted in social sector are operation of Homes for children/disabled /mentally challenged/ senior citizens/destitute/women/widows; observation homes, aftercare homes and juvenile homes; disbursement of Old Age pension/widow pension/freedom fighter pensions; operation of Anganwadi centres by distribution of food items and nutrition once in 15 days at the doorsteps of beneficiaries. However, beneficiaries should not attend Anganwadi centres.
In education sector, all educational institutions, training and coaching centres shall remain closed and these establishments are expected to maintain the academic schedule through online teaching, the order stated.
It also exempted MNREGA works in rural areas with strict implementation of social distancing and wearing of face mask.
In commercial and private establishments sectors, print and electronic media; courier services; private security services; food processing units; mineral water manufacturing and distribution; home delivery of food by restaurants and outlets have been exempted.
Exempted activities in construction activities include construction of roads and railway projects including MSMEs in rural areas - outside the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities; construction and maintenance of rural water supply schemes; continuation of works in construction projects, within limits of municipal corporations and municipalities, where workers are available on site and no workers are required to be brought in from outside (in situ construction).
In regard to movement of persons, the exempted activities are private vehicles for emergency services including medical and veterinary care; and all exempted category of employees attending work place.
All state government offices shall be opened. All officers of the rank of under-secretary and above shall attend. In respect of other categories, 33 per cent of the staff will attend office on rotation basis. All treasury offices will function with required staff. All offices dealing with essential services will function normally. All central government offices may function as per the guidelines issued by Government of India. There shall be total ban on visitors in the government offices, the order informed.
Meanwhile, chairing a meeting with officials of Trade Commerce and Industries directorate and a group of entrepreneurs on Monday afternoon, Minister Biswajit said that the arrangement has been made following the government’s announcement of partial lockdown relaxation in some sectors including industries.
This, he said, has been undertaken so as to help the rural population to sustain their livelihood.
During the meeting held at his New Secretariat office, the Minister instructed directorate officials to submit all requirements of the entrepreneurs for resumption of the industry sector.
However, all concerned should not forget to follow the protocols and directives of the government while re-opening their industries, he added.
The meeting was attended by Trade, Commerce & Industries principal secretary Suhel Akhtar; director C Arthur Worchuiyo; Handloom and handicraft director Lamlee Kamei and other officials of the directorate.