“Will boost Uttarakhand economy once lockdown ends”

Uttarakhand has been making all-out efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, with Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat leading from the front. The hill state has reported 48 cases so far, with no deaths. In an interview to IANS on a range of issues, Rawat said efforts have already been initiated to boost the state economy, and that the process will gain momentum once the lockdown ends. He said a ministerial group and high-powered committee will be constituted to gear up the state economy and generate jobs. Excerpts from interview: ...

By Navneet Mishra

Workers registered under the Employees State Insurance have been given Rs 1,000 each. District collectors have been given a total of Rs 30 crore from the CM Relief Fund to help those not registered for state benefits and others in need of help. Cattle feed and products related to agriculture have been included in essential commodities category.

Payments of loans raised by farmers for agriculture and related activities from cooperative banks have been deferred by three months. There are 3.5 lakh farmers in the state. The Government has also decided to ensure sufficient ration to each resident under the Food Security Mission.

Ration in the form of 35 kg wheat and rice for three months would be given under the Antyodaya Scheme. Five kg rice and pulses would be given to each of the white card holders. A total of 10 lakh ration card holders will be given 15 kg ration in place of 7.5 kg for the months of April, May and June. Those who don’t have ration cards would also be supplied ration kits in Uttarakhand.

What was the biggest challenge faced due to coronavirus in Uttarakhand? What arrangements have been made to observe the lockdown, what is the quarantine arrangement in the state?

Some challenge was definitely faced with the Tablighis carrying corona infection. But we took the support of the enlightened people of their group and explained that getting infected with corona is not a mistake, but to hide it is a crime. However, strict action was taken against those who were hiding and those who were helping them to hider. As a result of this, infected people came and started getting treatment. I am glad that many of these people have recovered. People are being quarantined in the state in two ways. Home quarantine and institutional quarantine. More than 2,500 people are in institutional quarantine. There are more than 18,000 beds available.

As far as the observance of the lockdown is concerned, it was started in the state on the day of Janata Curfew on March 22 on the call of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We had ordered the closure of the educational institutions on March 15 itself. We strictly implemented the lockdown in the state. Conscious people of the state also helped in this. We have made sure that the needs of the essential goods and services of the people are met. Suggestions from the enlightened people of the society were also taken into consideration. We set the time of opening of shops of essential commodities in such a way that there is no rush and crowds.

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