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Outreach plan for stranded people in Assam

A source said the volunteers are being trained to handle the people with utmost diligence and care
Migrant workers and their families at Guwahati railway station.
Migrant workers and their families at Guwahati railway station.
(UB Photos)

Shajid Khan   |   Guwahati   |   Published 12.04.20, 06:40 PM

The Assam government is planning to launch an outreach programme to facilitate the return of students and other residents stranded outside the state owing to the lockdown with the help of a team of dedicated volunteers.

The Assam Cares Migrant Outreach Programme will attempt to register such people and create a database through the use of helpline numbers. The work will be carried out by more than 150 volunteers, who are students of Assam Engineering College. They are currently undergoing training through video-conferencing.

A source said the volunteers are being trained to handle the people with utmost diligence and care as they will be required to record the travel history, medical history, any Covid-19 symptoms and financial status, among others.

“We will also offer free tele-counselling for those experiencing mental stress and anxiety during the lockdown, educating them about the pandemic and how to stay safe in these tough times,” said a volunteer.

“The stranded people can reach us through helplines. Dedicated websites and call centres have been started for the purpose and students of Assam Engineering College have been roped in as volunteers and are undergoing necessary training,” said health and finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. Earlier, Sarma had also said that anybody returning to Assam from other states or countries will have to be quarantined for 14 days.

According to sources, at least 5,000 people stranded people from Assam will be provided with permits after registration through the outreach programme, after the lockdown is lifted.

NGO plea

A Calcutta-based NGO, Molded and Minority Development Council, wrote to Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Saturday evening to provide essential commodities on a priority basis to Assamese people stranded in Bengal owing to the lockdown.

“We are in touch with around 150 stranded Assamese people. We are trying to help them with essential commodities,” said Raju Ghosh, the NGO’s founder chairman. “The Assamese people are mainly daily wage workers who lost their jobs and people who came for job interview and medical treatment,” he added.

Additional reporting by Nikhil Kumar Mundra in Hojai



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