Assam announces COVID-19 package; work in tea gardens, agri-farms exempted from lockdown
The Assam government on Monday said construction of embankments and work in tea gardens and agricultural farms would be exempted from the ambit of the lockdown from April 1, freeing lakhs of people from the restrictions of social distancing to fight COVID-19. This is a part of a special package the Assam government announced benefitting 72 lakh families, as the ongoing lockdown has rendered a large number of people in the state jobless.
Under the package, one-time assistance of Rs 1,000 will be provided to construction workers and those not covered under the National Food Security Act. From April 1, 58 lakh families under the NFSA will receive free rice, an official release said. At a meeting of the council of ministers chaired by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, the state government decided to exempt several sectors from the lockdown imposed to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak.
From April 1, the Assam government allowed repairing and construction of embankments in view of the coming monsoon season, the release said. The government also allowed to function tea gardens from April 1 with permission from respective deputy commissioners, while permitting farmers to start agriculture related works from Wednesday, it added.
The meeting decided to allow all trucks carrying food items and other essentials stuck at Sri Rampur gate along the Assam-West Bengal border from April 1. Besides, the state government also allowed to open all factories producing rice, flour and biscuits.
Deputy commissioners of all districts can change timings of opening for grocery shops from Wednesday, the release added. People involved in these exempted sectors will have to abide by the instructions issued by the health department.
Under the package, 100 families in villages of 5,000 people, 150 families in areas of 5,000-10,000 people and 200 families in a place with a population of over 10,000 will also get Rs 1,000. The government decided to give the cash assistance to 250 families of each ward of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation and 100 families of each ward of other municipal bodies in the state, the release stated.
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