Aizawl/Itanagar, April 13 (IANS) Ahead of the Prime Minister's address to the nation on Tuesday, two northeastern states - Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh -- on Monday extended the COVID-19 lockdown till April 30, officials said.
The 21-day nationwide lockdown since March 25, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24, was set to end on Tuesday. Officials in Aizawl and Itanagar said that there would be certain relaxations during the lockdown in these states to ease the people's hardships.
In Aizawl, an official release said that Chief Minister Zoramthanga has announced the lockdown till April 30. According to the release, the Chief Minister took the decision to extend the lockdown after a consultation meeting, which he held on Monday afternoon with his senior cabinet colleagues, representatives of the collective church forum ‘Mizoram Kohhran Hruaitute Committee', various NGOs, joint body of all Village and Local Councils.
Leaders of all political parties were also present in the meeting. According to the official release, Zoramthanga reiterated that security would be further tightened along the international borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh and inter-state borders with Assam, Tripura and Manipur. The Chief Minister also announced that the state government is doing its best to extricate the Mizos stranded in neighbouring northeastern states.
The release said that the council of ministers headed by the Chief Minister met earlier on Monday morning and discussed over the lockdown and its impacts on the state before taking unanimous decision about the extension of the lockdown.
In Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh government Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar said that the state government has extended the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of novel coronavirus to April 30.
"Only state-run buses would be allowed to ply on the roads. If the contractors sought permission for their construction work they would be allowed to do so after taking permission from the concerned authorities. However, migrant labourers cannot be employed and government guidelines in view of the COVID-19 pandemic must be followed," the Chief Secretary said.
Though the central government has not made public its decision on the extension of the lockdown yet, there have been suggestions from many states, organisations and experts that the lockdown be extended across the country. Now, all attention is on Prime Minister Modi's address to the nation on Tuesday morning.
At a video-conference on Saturday, Chief Ministers of many states urged the Prime Minister to extend the lockdown to contain the dreaded coronavirus.
Several states, including Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry have already extended the lockdown till April 30.