Coronavirus Lockdown: Nagaland in green zone, says Chief Secretary

Nagaland Chief Secretary Temjen Toy on Monday said the whole state was in the green zone and as per revised guidelines taxis and auto-rickshaws are allowed to ply.

Taxis and auto-rickshaws have been permitted to ply with the condition that they carry not more than two and one passengers respectively, while both the driver and passengers should wear masks, he told reporters here.

The whole state of Nagaland falls under green zone as per the criteria laid down by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, he said, adding there will not be quarantining of persons entering a district or town or village from within anywhere in Nagaland.

Nagaland has so far not reported any COVID-19 case.

The consolidated revised guidelines for the lockdown has allowed inter-district movement of stranded persons in distress, but in a regulated manner for a specific period for which separate guidelines will be issued soon, he said.

The guidelines, however, said that inter-district movement of commercial passenger vehicles shall remain barred except vehicles carrying essential goods.

The chief secretary said that as a matter of abundant caution, sealing of inter-state borders will continue in toto in the 14 border administrative sub-divisions and subordinate administrative circles spread over seven districts of the state.

On the issue of bringing back people of Nagaland stranded in other parts of the country, Toy said nothing has been finalized while the financial support extended to such persons is only a one time grant.

He, however, said that migrant workers willing to go to their respective states will be allowed. He said if the respective states are willing to receive their people, the government will work out measures, including the railways to send them.

The Health and Family Welfare department is already issuing health certificates to hundreds of migrant workers wanting to leave the state, he said.

On the reports of villages restricting entry of their people coming from other districts, Toy affirmed that action would be initiated against any such defaulters.

On the COVID-19 cess on petroleum products, he said it has named proving the extent of transparency the government is maintaining.

“We could have named it any other tax but we have intentionally called it COVID-19 cess because it will be specifically used in the fight against the virus,” he said, adding that it will be discontinued once the pandemic is defeated.

He said that despite appeals from various civil society organizations and political parties, besides the criticisms in the social media groups, there will be no rollback of the COVID-19 cess.

“If the people don’t want COVID-19 cess on petroleum products, we can still give it other name and continue to impose it. It is the prerogative of the government to impose cess and there will be no rollback,” said Toy.

He also said that the government is also considering the plight of drug uses and also the HIV/AIDS patients needing ARV and other related support.

The chief secretary appealed to the general public to continue to strictly maintain social distancing and wearing of face masks.

The state will open up in a calibrated manner in the days to come, he said, adding that the services that have been relaxed and restricted by the Central government will be implemented in the state.

On the issue of the Dimapur patient, who tested positive for COVID-19 in Guwahati, Assam on April 12 last and now has been cured, being restricted to return home, Principal Secretary for Health and Family Welfare, Menukhol John said there is no such restrictions and he is free to return.

Principal Secretary (Home), Abhijit Sinha giving details of the overall law and order during the last 40 days of COVID-19 lockdown, said an amount of Rs 1,18,700 has been collected as penalties from 995 people for violating the lockdown norms.