CM appeals state natives to remain calm
IMPHAL, 8th May: Chief Minister N Biren said the first Shramik train with 1200 state natives will leave Chennai on Saturday and arrive at Jiribam on Tuesday.
In an address to the public made available through social media platforms on Friday, CM Biren said that the government is taking up the massive evacuation operation with support from the people. The government is making all out efforts to evacuate all the stranded state natives from different parts of the country.
He said that Shramik trains will bring the stranded natives up to Jiribam and the government has made elaborate arrangement for de-boarding, screening and sorting processes to bring them back in Imphal with buses. Top officials were sent to Jiribam to identify the locations and oversee the setup there on Thursday, he said.
The government had discussed issues pertaining to hiring buses to transport the returnees from Jiribam to Imphal. On Friday, he met representatives of transport organisations during which he received assurance that around 150 buses would be provided. Upon further discussion, the transporters agreed to reduce the bus hiring charge from Rs 26,000 to Rs 21,000 per trip, which is a huge relief for the government, he said.
The CM then appealed to the bus drivers and their families not to belief in rumours or fear of getting infected by ferrying the returnees. Every evacuated person will be screened before boarding the train and only asymptomatic ones will be allowed to board. There will be no stoppage on the way till the train reaches Jiribam. The health officials will take up all necessary measures to sanitise the vehicles as well as the train before operation and there is no need to worry. Besides, using masks and other protective measures can prevent any chance of infection. He also said that recognising the importance of transporters and significance of their service during the crisis period, the government will provide the same insurance it had announced for the frontline warriors in case of any unfortunate incidents. He then appealed to all to cooperate while adding that the government will take up every possible measure to minimise risks.
The CM also informed about schedules of some such trains and said that after the first train from Chennai, the next will bring stranded state natives from Punjab and Chandigarh region on May 12 and the next from Bengaluru on May 14. The operation is not a small one since the fare of the Shramik train from Chennai is Rs 12,00,600. Moreover, 50 buses will be used to transport the returnees from Jiribam to Imphal at a total cost of Rs 10,50,000 per trip.
The buses are mostly 41-seater and with the arrangements of 25 to 27 persons per bus, it will need 45 buses but five additional buses will also be sent per trip in case of the buses developing technical snags on the way.
Nodal officers appointed for different states are coordinating with their counterparts in their assigned states to identify and evacuate the stranded people. Stating that there are some reports of the government leaving behind state natives from red zone doing rounds, the CM appealed to all to believe only in official statements issued by the authority including DIPR or himself. He then asked the state natives living in different parts of the country to remain calm and follow the lockdown protocol strictly to minimise risk of getting infected.
He also spoke about some Manipuri students in Visakhapatnam, who posted a video on facebook seeking early evacuation from in the wake of Thursday’s gas leak. He talked with the group of students on Friday afternoon and they told him that they would not be shifting from the present site as the leaked has not reached there. However, they sought early evacuation from the present location, he said and added that the government will do the needful to evacuate them.
Stating that large number of people would be returning, he called upon volunteers of local clubs and organisations to cooperate with the officials through their local MLA at the quarantine facilities. The government will provide food and other requirements including protective gears but the returnees must have to arrange their own bedding. Though some minor problems might crop up during the quarantine period, DCs have been instructed to coordinate with local MLAs and clubs to address such small issues promptly and provide the returnees the safe feeling of being at home during their stay in the centres, the CM said.
Biren also thanked several sections of the society for their cooperation to the government and mentioned a Gurudwara in Imphal who offered to deliver cooked food to some of the quarantine facility. In order to minimise risks and contain any possibility of infection, there is a strong need for sincerity among the healthcare professionals and other frontline workers, he said. He also appealed to all not to sweep away by fear and not to raise any discrimination against the returnees.