SHILLONG, April 27 - Chief Minister Conrad Sangma today said that the lockdown in Meghalaya would continue beyond May 3, but in districts not affected by the pandemic there would be relaxation.
This information was conveyed by Sangma during the video conference between Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the chief ministers of the country.
The video conference was convened by the Central Government between the chief ministers to solicit ideas and suggestions to open up the economy after May 3. However, different States have fixed different criteria for lifting the lockdown.
Out of the 11 districts in Meghalaya, only East Khasi Hills district has been affected by the pandemic. There are 11 active COVID-19 cases in this district, with one dead. All the other districts have remained COVID-19 free so far.
Sangma has said earlier that economic activities in the State cannot be held up any further and these have to be opened up in a phasewise manner.
So far, construction activities like roads, bridges and also MGNREGA work has already begun in the State. The rural sector has also opened up owing to the sowing season.
These activities are all being carried out by following strict health protocols as laid down by the Government. But in the State Capital, extreme precaution is being taken and only shops selling essential commodities are open.
The Government has asked big market places like Iewduh (Bara Bazaar) and Police Bazaar, apart from those in other districts to remain shut.
As far as East Khasi Hills district goes, there are over 5,000 people who are primary and secondary contacts of the first COVID-19 patient and these people are all quarantined. Many of these people are yet to be tested. Meanwhile, Sangma suggested to the PM that an �Economic Task Force� by taking all States on board be established for exchange of ideas and possible solutions to kick-start the Indian economy post lockdown.
The Meghalaya Chief Minister was given the opportunity to make the opening submission in today�s video conference.
He said the proposed task force would initiate economic activities albeit by adhering to necessary precautionary protocols.
�The establishment of economic task force will help States and its adjoining neighbours to a large extent in devising practical measures to revive the economy,� Sangma said.
Talking about the prevailing situation, the Chief Minister said that the use of technology has become all the more important. He added that everyone should brace up for the change by integrating technology in governance, healthcare and business.
Eulogising the Meghalaya �Rapid Response System� model, Sangma said response teams, including health, administrative and police officials have rushed upon detection of new COVID-19 cases.
He said similar models should be implemented in different parts of the country for different exigencies.
�The rapid response system will enable the government to work better at the micro level, like the panchayat institutions and prepare us for any situation that may arise in future,� the Chief Minister suggested.
He added that response of different stakeholders should be specified in the form of standard operating procedures by responding within 60 minutes after receiving distress calls.