File image of Arunachal Pradesh CM Pema Khandu
File image of Arunachal Pradesh CM Pema Khandu

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Thursday said that the government is taking every step to make sure that the COVID-19 pandemic has bare minimum impact on the state’s economy.

“At present, we are not facing any financial crisis as such and the condition may also not be so worse that the government is not able to pay the wages of its government employees,” Khandu said.

“However, the lockdown will definitely have an impact on bringing various developmental projects and schemes in the state,” Khandu added.

Khandu was addressing a press conference at the civil secretariat in Itanagar.

He also informed that the finance and planning departments headed by deputy chief minister Chowna Mein are already working on such matters and making the necessary plans to mitigate any crisis

The chief minister said more details on the same would be shared soon.

Khandu further said that necessary directives would soon be issued from the planning department to enable the legislators of the state to utilize their local area development (MLALAD) funds for works related to the containment of COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking on lockdown 4.0 and Arunachal’s preparedness for the same, the chief minister said that there are chances that more relaxations would be given post-May 17.

“The actual decision on relaxations, however, lies on the hands of the Central government as Prime Minister Modi during his recent meeting with chief ministers of all states has already asked us to provide a blueprint by May 15 as to how our states plan to deal with the lockdowns post-May 17,” Khandu said.

“For now we need to learn the art of living with the coronavirus. We have to fight the pandemic together by maintaining all the standard operating procedures and following the safety guidelines of the government,” he said.

In regards to the migrant labourers stranded in the state, especially those from Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, Khandu said the government has so far facilitated the return of 12518 labourers.

“Though it is the responsibility of the respective state governments to make a move for the safe return of their citizens, we will, however, facilitate the same once the stranded people write to us officially,” he said.

Khandu said that the restrictions on the issuance of new inner line and restricted area permits would continue for now.

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