GUWAHATI, April 19 - With the country in lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the State level task force headed by the Chief Secretary has to deal with different issues like ensuing smooth supply of essentials, problems faced by the people of Assam staying in other states of the country, dealing with the issues concerning the Railways, maintaining regular liaison with the Centre etc. Meanwhile, Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna has asserted that there is no shortage of any food item in the State and there is no reason for the people to be apprehensive.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, the Chief Secretary said that all the issues related to the lockdown are discussed every morning by the State level task force and the problems are sorted out immediately. He is also in constant touch with the committees constituted by the Centre and his counterparts of other states of the country. The State level task force, comprising senior officers of departments like Home, Health and Family Welfare, Food and Civil Supplies etc as well as senior officers of Police meets every morning to discuss and sort out all the problems faced during the lockdown. The meeting of the Task force is followed by a video conference with the Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police and district health officials so that the problems can be dealt with immediately.
The Chief Secretary said that the supply lines of the essential commodities are being maintained and there is no reason for worry. He said that the Government is also in constant touch with the Railways and Food Corporation of India and whenever a problem crops up, it is dealt with in the Task Force meeting. He pointed out that Railways bring in both essential and non essential commodities to Assam and there was a time, when there were problems relating to unloading of non essential items, which resulted in holding up of Railway rakes. The issue was immediately sorted out by arranging labourers to unload the rakes. The stock position of all food items both in the FCI godowns and in the open market is assessed every day. He also pointed out that the demand for vegetables, meat, milk products etc has come down drastically because all the hotels and restaurants are closed.
Replying to a question on other issues dealt by the Task Force every day, Sanjay Krishna said that there are various issues. One is the problems faced by the people of Assam living in other states of the country and �we have to get in touch with the concerned state governments whenever such issues come to our notice. Recently, we have come to know that students from Assam living in Kota in Rajasthan are facing serious hardship and the matter has been taken up with the Government of Rajasthan. We are getting good cooperation from all the states in this regard,� he added.
Immediately after receiving report that Nagaland pushed back a number of migrant labourers, the State Government had to swing into action to identify those people so that they can be quarantined and tested. Identification of a number of positive cases in Meghalaya created panic in that state and the government of Meghalaya went for a complete lockdown and even trucks carrying essentials to Barak Valley were not allowed, because of which there was shortage of LPG in the valley. The matter was immediately taken up with the Government of Meghalaya.
Sanjay Krishna said that the Water Resources Department has been asked to start the work of repairing of the embankments by maintaining social distancing and there should not be any shortage of funds for the purpose. However, he said that such works are not allowed in the areas marked as �red zones�.
On the plan of the Government to resume functioning of all the Government departments from April 21, the Chief Secretary said that officers of the rank of Deputy secretaries and above would go to offices, while, 33 per cent of the employees of grade III and IV would attend. He said that the Government would requisition buses for transportation of the officers and employees to offices.
The Chief Secretary said that from April 21, the Government is also planning to allow opening of industries. But the factory owners would have to give an undertaking that social distancing would be maintained in the premises and as far as possible, the workers would have to be locked in the premises so that they cannot come into contact with others.