During the initial lockdown notified by the Central Government owing to covid-19, the respective State Governments, particularly Manipur and Nagaland, encouraged the north easterners stranded in different parts of the country to remain wherever they were. Even as lockdown started to stretch and the migrant labourers from poorer states stranded in the metro cities started to move from their respective place of work to their native home states, the government of Manipur and Nagaland still encouraged their people to stay wherever they were, particularly the students. The stranded people were given financial help of Rs 2000/3000/4000 etc per head (roughly). Eventually, the politics of bringing them home emerged. The congress said that they will bear the travel fares of the returnees if they are willing to come back home. In Manipur, this meant a lot of complications to the ruling government as it could potentially affect the political scenario of the state if it materialized. Hence the government of Manipur set a target of bringing back around fifty thousand stranded natives of Manipur. As the stranded natives of Manipur started to pour into the state, the green zone immediately became a zone with 21 active corona virus affected people taking the state tally to 23 as I write this article. Meanwhile, in Nagaland, there was a few days of confusion whether to bring the stranded citizens or not. Some of the CSOs started to pressurize not to bring them. However, they were not very clear as to why they should not be brought back. Their statements were mistaken by many people as selfish and violation of human rights. But finally good sense of the government of Nagaland prevailed and decision was taken to bring back stranded people, whoever is willing, and for those who wished to remain where they were to be given Rs 10,000 per head.
I like this decision of Nagaland to give Rs. 10,000 per head to every person of Nagaland staying back in their respective place of lock down. As per the government of Nagaland sources, there are about 18000 stranded persons willing to come back. If all of them are given Rs. 10,000 each, it comes to only Rs. 18 crores. In fact according to me they should be given at least Rs. 20,000 each for the month of April and May to cover up some of their house rents and food stuff. In this case the total amount will come to about Rs. 72 crores which is very manageable amount for the government as compared to the consequences, if any. And it is not that all 18000 people will stay back because many have lost their job, lost in business and maybe those businesses may not be able to pick up soon, etc. The staying back group will be mostly the students of technical institutes and other higher studies. And so investing in them in time of crisis can become an asset to the state. Anyway, thousands of Manipur natives have come back by trains and within two or three days from a recovered two patients, it has shot up to twenty one active cases whereas we are yet to see what will happen to Nagaland. My only prayer is that it should not be spread to the rural population.
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