Mizoram would not object if Centre extends lockdown: CM


Aizawl: Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga on Thursday said his government would not object if the Centre extends the nationwide lockdown beyond the present schedule.

The nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of novel coronavirus will end on April 14.

Zoramthanga told PTI that Prime Minister Narendra Modil will convene video conference with chief ministers of all states to discuss the pandemic issues, including extension of lockdown.

“Even though Mizoram has reported only one positive case, it is harmful for the state to relax lockdown because of the surge in coronavirus case in neighbouring states and countries,” he said.

Mizoram shares international border with Bangladesh and Myanmar. The hilly state also shares inter-state borders with Assam, Manipur and Tripura.

According to Zoramthanga, the state government has stepped up vigil along inter-state and international borders and will expedite the measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the state.

He said the government would extend all possible help to families facing food shortage and also local or village level task forces, which are looking after the welfare of people and guarding their respective areas to ensure that lockdown is not violated.

On March 22, Mizoram completely sealed its border with neighbouring states and with Bangladesh and Myanmar.

However, entry of essential commodities is allowed at Vairengte and Bairabi on the Mizoram-Assam border.

So far, the hilly state has reported only one confirmed case of COVID-19.

Mizoram has begun testing of samples for the deadly virus at states Zoram Medical College (ZMC) on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Mizoram Agriculture Minister C Lalrinsanga said several cash crops farmers of the state are facing inconvenience due to absence of market following the lockdown.

During a video conference on Wednesday, Lalrinsanga informed Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare minister Narendra Singh Tomar that oil palm growers in the state have incurred a loss to the tune of Rs 25-30 lakh due to absence of market, an official statement said here on Thursday .

He asked the union minister to approve minimum support price for oil palm growers, which was proposed by the state government in September last year.

Lalrinsanga said that growers of other cash crops like ginger, turmeric and sugarcane are also facing hardship as they could not harvest their produce due to absence of labourers.

The minister also said that externally aided projects like FOCUS funded by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) could not be commenced due to the ongoing lockdown.

The Mizoram government on Thursday launched two more tasks groups – “task group on media and publicity” and “task group on documentation” in the wake of the outbreak of novel coronavirus.

Headed by information and public information secretary Sangdingliana, the task group on media and publicity will work on collection and compilation of official statement and news related to Covid-19. It will also prepare daily bulletin on Covid-19.

The task group on documentation will be headed by planning secretary Dr. Vanlalramsanga as chairman. The task group is tasked with documentation of all government measures to contain the spread of novel coronavirus. (PTI)