With 4.32 Lakh Stranded Assamese Desperate to Return Home, State Govt Rolls Out Financial Aid Plan

With 4.32 Lakh Stranded Assamese Desperate to Return Home, State Govt Rolls Out Financial Aid Plan

Guwahati: Assam government has identified 4.32 lakh people who are eligible for a ‘subsistence allowance’ but finding themselves stranded outside the state due to nationwide lockdown. Earlier, the state government was working on a plan to offer a form of support payment to people from Assam stranded outside the state and abroad by identifying them on a case-by-case basis.

Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday said that over 9.29 lakh missed calls were received at the state helpline number, of which 4.32 lakh calls have been verified. With the verification process still underway, the state government plans to provide financial assistance to the first 50,000 people registered through the National Health Mission (NHM).

“We have identified 4.32 lakh people so far who are stuck in some part of the country and wish to return home. They are all from economically weaker backgrounds. The first 50,000 people are likely to receive a monetary benefit tomorrow. Till now, 2.17 lakh people have filled up forms, and I request others also to take help and submit forms soon,” said Sarma.

The government had earlier announced that those hailing from ‘upper middle-class’ and sound monetary background should not apply for this benefit.

“When we go for physical verification, we will be able to identify how many are from the affordable category. At present, home-to-home survey by district administration is underway. Out of 45,469 applications, only 1,206 have been rejected under economic criteria. And 95 per cent of these people are those who are working for a salary not more than Rs 15 to 20 thousand,” added Sarma.

A total of 64 thousand people from Assam working outside the state are currently living in Karnataka. While Kerala has 34,000 temporary workers from Assam, Tamil Nadu has 33,000. Among other states, 21,000 people working in Maharashtra and 16,000 in Telangana hail from Assam. About 22,778 workers are scattered across Gujarat, Goa, West Bengal, Haryana and New Delhi.

A vast majority of people working outside the state hails from Nagaon district. The state government estimates that about 15 lakh people will return to Assam from hotspots across the country once the lockdown is lifted.

As many as 34 Assamese stranded outside the country have been identified and been offered $1,000 each. The next installment of the same amount will be released on April 25 and those who had embarked on a short trip abroad but now down to their last few dollars will be eligible for this aid.

The state government has also provided financial support of Rs 25,000 each to 725 critically ill patients from Assam hospitalised outside the state.

Till Saturday evening, Assam registered 34 positive cases, of which 32 are linked to the Markaz event in Delhi’s Nizamuddin in March. Twelve COVID-19 patients have recovered, and have been discharged from the hospital. While 79 per cent of those infected are male, 21 per cent are female COVID-19 patients.

“Assam is in a comfortable situation till first wave is concerned,” said Sarma, adding that the state is moderately placed when it comes to testing. About 150-200 samples are tested on a daily basis at the six accredited government testing facilities in Assam, and the government plans to go for rapid testing at government hospitals.

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