Arunachal Pradesh CM Pema Khandu addressing a meeting in Itanagar on Thursday. Image: Northeast Now

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Thursday said a dateline will be given to all Arunachalees stranded in different parts of the county to return to the state.

The dateline will be probably till June 30.

“Those returning after the timeline will have to bear the minimum cost of institutional quarantine, however, the state government will continue to bear the expenses of the swab tests,” Khandu, who was addressing a meeting at the civil secretariat here, said.

Expenses of both institutional quarantine and swab tests are being borne by the state government at present.

The meeting was convened to discuss matters on the way forward after June 30 when ‘Unlock 1.0’ ends and the state slowly opens up for normal activities.

This comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Tuesday asked the states to prepare for ‘Unlock 2.0’.

Leaders of all political parties, community-based organizations (CBOs) and student organizations participated in the meeting.

Khandu informed around 14000 stranded people have returned to the state so far and they have all been put under strict institutional quarantine.

“The returnees are only sent for home quarantine when they test negative for Covid-19 after two consecutive tests and as per the prevailing standard operating procedure (SOP),” he said.

The chief minister said a 5-day mandatory institutional quarantine followed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test of swab samples twice will be applicable to all returnees including government officials of all ranks.

“Essential service providers like telecom, power, health, technicians etc and also labours procured for essential services will have to follow the said SoP,” Khandu said.

Khandu said the schools in the state will not reopen before August.

“The government will review the prevailing conditions in July and decide on the same after receiving guidelines from the Human Resources Ministry. Colleges under Rajiv Gandhi University will reopen as per directives of the University Grant Commission,” he informed.

Khandu said as Covid-19 is an evolving virus, everybody, especially the healthcare specialists, are still in a learning process and dealing with it with every new discovery.

“This pandemic has taught us a good lesson. We now know the significance of a robust healthcare system and the importance of atmanirbhar (self-dependent). We as Team Arunachal are committed to seriously work in these two sectors,” he said.

The chief minister further assured that all suggestions put up by those present in the meeting would be considered in finalizing the SOPs for Unlock 2.0.

Among others, deputy chief minister Chowna Mein, legislative assembly speaker P D Sona, home minister Bamang Felix, health minister AloLibang, education minister Taba Tedir, chief secretary Naresh Kumar, director-general of police R P Upadhyaya were present in the meeting.

The Congress was represented by former chief minister and state Congress president Nabam Tuki while the BJP was represented by its state president Biyuram Wahge.

People’s Party of Arunachal chairman Kamen Ringu, National People’s Party state president Gicho Kabak and JDU state president Ruhi Tugung represented their respective parties.

The CBOs were represented by the Arunachal Indigenous Tribes Forum while the student organizations were represented by All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union president Hawa Bagang and general secretary Tobom Dai.

DAMIEN LEPCHA

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