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Development schemes put off

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, March 15 - Though not a single coronavirus-affected person has been detected in Assam, the State has been affected by the threat of the dreaded virus as launching of a number of major development schemes had to be postponed, said Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. However, at the same time, he said that there is no reason to panic as adequate precautionary steps have been taken by the government to stop spread of the disease.

Talking to The Assam Tribune, the Chief Minister pointed out that the economy of the entire world has been affected because of coronavirus outbreak and in the global scenario, Assam is also facing problems. He said the government was set to launch a number of development schemes before March 31. But due to the threat of coronavirus outbreak, the launching of these schemes had to be postponed as �we are forced to restrict mass gatherings to stop spread of the disease.�

Sonowal said the tourism industry in the entire world has been badly hit due to coronavirus outbreak and Assam has also suffered. �This is the peak tourist season in Assam... But due to the coronavirus threat, the flow of tourists has seen a decline,� he said, adding that the State has suffered heavy loss due to coronavirus threat. He also pointed out that the national parks and sanctuaries, which are major tourist attractions in the State, will be closed as soon as the rainy season starts.

The Chief Minister, however, said that there is no reason to panic. He said the government has taken all precautionary measures to stop spread of the disease and the guidelines issued by the Union Health Ministry have been strictly implemented.

He said all possible steps have been taken to create awareness among the people right up to the grassroots level. The Panchayati Raj institutions have also been engaged to create awareness among the people so that everyone can take adequate precautionary measures. He said as a large number of people travel to Assam from other parts of the country every day, screenings are being conducted at airports, railway stations, bus stands, etc.

Sonowal said the health department is ready to deal with any eventuality and there is no shortage of medicines and allied materials to fight possible outbreak of the disease. Instructions have been issued to ensure that no trader can create artificial scarcity of items like sanitizers. If anyone is found to be involved in such activities, strong action will be taken, he asserted.

Sonowal said he himself is reviewing the situation in meetings with senior officers every day, while the Chief Secretary is also holding regular review meetings. There is no reason for the people to panic, he added.

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