Bamang Felix
Arunachal Pradesh home minister Bamang Felix. Image credit - Northeast Now

Arunachal Pradesh home minister Bamang Felix on Monday urged the state’s community based organizations to support the state government in its fight against Covid19 pandemic by educating the masses about the threat it possesses.

“We need cooperation from all quarters in educating the people and erasing social and traditional stigmas attached to the virus and patients infected by it,” Felix said.

“This can be obtained through information, education, and communication (IEC) campaigns and awareness programmes,” he added.

The home minister was addressing a coordination meeting with community based organizations (CBOs) at the Dorjee Khandu Convention Centre here.

Felix said, “Social media, which is the main source of disseminating information to the masses, should be used holistically.”

He cautioned that rumour-mongers and fake information spreaders on social media, leading to chaos, shall be dealt strongly by the government.

The home minister said the main objective of the meeting was to inform the stakeholders, especially the CBOs about the action taken by the government so far and to take suggestions from them on preparedness for the road ahead to contain the spread of the virus.

Felix further said the government is planning to encourage and take steps to boost the agriculture, horticulture, fish farming and veterinary sectors of the state so that it does not have to be dependent on other neighboring states for essential items in the future.

“The lockdown has taught us a good lesson in this regard,” he said.

Commissioner (home) Kaling Tayeng highlighted the situation and position of the state in regards to the Covid-19 pandemic, while the status of the health department and its preparedness was shared by health and family welfare secretary P Parthiban.

Speaking on behalf of the community based organisations, Arunachal Pradesh Indigenous Tribes Forum (AITF) president Bengia Tolum called for involving the organizations in the government’s plans to fight the pandemic.

He also called for adopting proper SoPs before a decision is taken to open the educational institutions in the state.

Forum general secretary Tarh Tabin, Nyishi Elite Society general secretary Heri Maring also spoke and placed their views.

It was further informed that all the CBOs have resolved to constitute dedicated Covid-19 cells and task forces at village, circle, district and regional levels to assist the government machineries and create awareness in regards to strict adherence of Covid19 protocols.

The organizations also resolved to launch a massive IEC campaign to erase the stigma attached to the virus and its carriers/infected persons and refrain from attaching regional or communal tags to it.

DAMIEN LEPCHA

Damien Lepcha is Northeast Now Correspondent in Arunachal Pradesh. He can be reached at: lepcharaul@gmail.com