The West Bengal government is working on a three-pronged strategy to strike a balance between lives and livelihood.
While one aspect is bringing back students, migrant workers, pilgrims and patients stranded in other states in a “phased manner”, the other is medical screening at the Bengal border and collecting swab samples of people particularly from states with high virus prevalence such as Delhi, Maharashtra and Gujarat. The third is an economic revival plan for people in the lockdown 3.0 phase.
Home secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay on Wednesday announced that Bengal’s economic revival plan is ready. “Maximum stimulus has been planned for MSMEs. The government is giving priority to MSMEs for public procurement such as supply of PPEs, masks, sanitisers. The government is also focusing on seamless distribution of foodgrain and support to senior citizens under Joy Bangla scheme. A total 60 lakh people have got benefits out of this scheme. Another 2.5 lakh migrant workers have got financial support under Sneher Parash scheme,” he said.
Bandyopadhyay rolled out a specific entry and exit plan for inter-state movement. “We have already uploaded an entry app for students and migrant workers on the Egiye Bangla website to make the return seamless. People can download the app, enter some particulars and obtain entry passes,” he said.
“We already have a detailed database of migrant workers. We are in touch with groups of workers and will also get in touch with respective state governments before they release the workers,” Bandyopadhyay said. The government has also devised an exit app for people from other states stuck in Bengal.
The Bengal government will upload a separate app for pilgrims stranded at Hrishikesh and Vrindavan. “These people want to come in their own vehicles. We will allow them, maintaining social distancing protocol,” the senior official said.
The state will strictly follow medical screening procedure for all home-bound people to prevent coronavirus from spreading. “People from neighbouring states such as Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, Assam and Sikkim are coming to our borders. We are not going to stop them. Even those coming from Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat will be allowed in. But they have to give swab samples during entry,” the home secretary said and added such samples were collected in Asansol on Wednesday.
Responding to entry glitches at several points on the way back to Bengal, Bandyopadhyay said: “This is not abnormal in an extraordinary situation.”
Source: Times of India