The Meghalaya Cabinet on Monday decided that its academic institutions will remain closed until the end of this month. However, all government offices will start functioning with full staff strength from April 15. Meghalaya is the first state to announce the beginning of work at government offices from April 15 amid the Centre's nationwide COVID-19 lockdown that is to continue till April 14.
"While all government offices will start functioning with full staff strength from April 15, schools and educational institutions will remain closed till April 30," said the state government in a statement.
Moreover, the Cabinet has decided to allow the reopening of weekly markets in rural areas from April 15, directing to strictly maintain COVID-19 protocols as prescribed by the health department. Also, construction work and other allied developmental programmes sanctioned by the government in the last financial year, and private transportation will be allowed to resume from April 15.
The farmers in rural areas will be allowed to resume sowing activities with immediate effect. The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee (MNREGA) activities will be allowed to resume in respective villages in the State. The Cabinet said that wages and the material components to the tune of Rs 534.6573 crore have been sanctioned and released to the respective BDOs for payment of wages and clearing the materials bills.
Under the Chief Minister's Relief Against Wage Loss scheme, all the wage earners, daily labourers and petty traders, who are out of work during the COVID-19 lockdown, will receive Rs 700 per week. The financial assistance will be transferred directly to the eligible beneficiary's account. The workers registered under PM-KISAN yojna will not be entitled to receive benefits of the CM's Relief Against Wage Loss scheme.
"Beneficiaries already registered under Building and Other Construction Workers (BOCW), job cardholders under MGNREGA, muster roll workers of government departments, casual and contractual wage workers in government and semi-government departments and registered farmers under 'PM-KISAN' are not entitled to receive benefits under the scheme," the government said.
During the meeting, the Cabinet also raised concerns regarding 2192 students and working citizens from Meghalaya, who are residing at different parts of the country as most of them had expressed their desire to come back to the State. Taking into account the safety of people in the State and the safety of the stranded citizens themselves, the Cabinet had decided to request the stranded citizens to refrain from travelling back home until the end of April 2020.
(with ANI inputs)