IMPHAL: Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee has demanded that the state government should at least bear the cost of bus fares and meals taken during the course of the journey from Guwahati to Manipur of all individuals from the state who are stranded outside due to the lockdown when they ultimately return home on humanitarian grounds.
The demand was made during a press conference organized at Congress Bhavan on Monday which was attended by MPCC vice-president Ratankumar, T. Mangibabu and spokesperson Th Devbratta.
Spokesperson of MPCC Th Devbratta first raised the issue of the individuals evacuated from Guwahati on buses being asked to pay fare amounting to around Rs. 3,000-3,500 per person for a distance of approximately of 487.8 kilometers. Consequently, MPCC demanded to the state government to bear the cost of bus fares and meals for all 30,000 stranded Manipuris during the section of their journey from Guwahati to Imphal. This will cost the state or CM’s COVID-19 Relief Fund an amount of less than five to six crores rupees, according to Devbratta.
Another party spokesperson Ratankumar stated that there is a bigger question on the roles of volunteers of clubs who are participating and used by the government in their capacities at the frontline in helping people affected by the pandemic at par with the recognized frontline workers. MPCC is asking the government whether there is any policy for compensation in case any of them is infected with Coronavirus during the period of their service, he stated.
The Congress leader further sought clarification whether there is any instruction from the Ministry of Home Affairs regarding detailed guidelines issued on disbursal of money to beneficiaries of PMGKY through banks during such 21-days lockdown to fight against COVID-19 in the state.
He cited an example of the relief distributions work in the state of Assam which is also a BJP ruled state claiming that Assam Police have made over 4,800 home deliveries of medicine so far, Assam state government has provided $1,000 each to 49 people from the state stranded abroad, an amount of Rs 25,000 each have also given to 829 patients from the state that went for treatment to other state, and finally Rs 2,000 each to 200,000 persons from the state who are working in other parts of the country.
Congress leaders further stated that the state government will be better off with the State Disaster Management Authority under the provision of Disaster Management Act 2005 that gives the state more power of authority to provide relief during such hours of this global pandemic. Therefore, MPCC appealed the state govt. to take notice the complex difficulties of the people during the lockdown and those problems compounded by the lockdown that are beyond individual’s capacity of finding a solution.