40,000 Manipuris stranded in other states to be brought back: CM

The CM has asked all MLAs in the state to prepare a list of people from their constituencies who are stranded outside Manipur

coronavirus, COVID-19, Lockdown, Manipur, Tripura, Meghalaya
The Manipur government under Biren Singh has put a freeze on all recruitments as a cost-cutting step. Photo: PTI

Among handful of other states that do not have any active cases of the novel coronavirus, Manipur stands at the second place in the list, Chief Minister N Biren Singh said on Saturday (May 2).

Speaking to Aaj Tak during the e-Agenda event, the chief minister revealed that over 40,000 people from Manipur are stranded in other states since the lockdown to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic was imposed.

“I have asked all MLAs in the state to prepare a list of people from their constituencies who are stranded outside Manipur. These lists will be very useful. The state government will do its best to bring back these people. Nearly 40,000 people from Manipur including workers and students are stranded. However, they will be quarantined on their return,” he said.

With several north-eastern states sharing their borders with neighbouring countries, the risk of coronavirus gaining a potential entry into the state rises.

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Following Manipur CM closing the Indo-Myanmar border, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb reiterated that its shared border with Bangladesh shall remain sealed till the end of COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have issued a notification for trucks carrying goods. Samples will be taken from drivers and till the result doesn’t come the truck will not be allowed to enter the state. Even those citizens who come back to the state will be tested, kept in isolation for two days and only be allowed in if their results are negative,” he said.

For people returning back to their natives now, the CM had only one message: “Please don’t panic, don’t become agitated. Till the spread of COVID-19 does not stop, don’t move from where you are. You are safe there. The moment you move, coronavirus is waiting for you.”

Reiterating the importance of keeping the borders sealed amid the coronavirus outbreak, Himchal Pradesh CM Jai Ram Thakur said, “Strict vigilance and restrictions on movement of people were the two important measures that helped us control the number of cases.”

“The biggest factor that helped us control the situation was strict vigilance. We sealed our border and while other states were implementing the lockdown, we went ahead and imposed curfew in the state. Even at present, there is curfew in Himachal Pradesh,” he said, adding that “the state is in a good position now with 40 reported cases and no new cases in the past 89 days.”

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Praising the efforts of north-eastern states in controlling the spread of coronavirus, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said, “Meghalaya and North East can be marketed as safe zones for tourism. People want to travel but to places that are not too crowded. We can promote the North East in that way.”

“There is no doubt this is a crisis but every crisis can be turned into an opportunity. There is a lot of scope for agriculture and organic food farming in the North East, we can bring an agricultural revolution here. This region can become the hub for food and vegetable farming,” he added.

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