Gangtok, June 10: The State Nodal Officer cum Secretary, Coordination (COVID-19), Rinzing Chewang Bhutia along with Members of the State Evacuation Cell, on June 10 announced that for the stranded people who enter Sikkim from June 18, scheduled buses will be made available from SNT Siliguri, from where the buses will transport them to Rangpo and Melli Screening Camps, where they will be assigned designated quarantine facilities, on their personal expenses.
It was also informed that the organized evacuation is in its final phase and come June 18, most free quarantine facilities will be closed and the returnees will have to stay in the paid quarantine facilities.
Further, it was informed that the State Evacuation Cell Coordination Cell, who had been functioning from May 1 with a team of officers and staff of Sikkim Government, received 11,831 registrations from not only stranded Sikkimese but also people from other states. The Department was able to evacuate 6332 stranded Sikkimese from across the nation and through various modes of transportation.
The State Evacuation Cell will gradually hand over data of the evacuations to the Information Technology Department of Government of Sikkim. A very few stranded people are only left now, who will have to make their travel arrangements and they will need to fill out only one form- Registration cum Entry Form, which will be allotted during online registration at www.covid19sikkim.org. People entering the State will need the valid proof of identification which was used for the online registration at Rongpo and Melli check post, only then the entry will be granted.
The Nodal Officer also addressed, that since the Board Exams for both CBSE and ICSE students, will be conducted from July 1, all Senior Secondary Schools in the state are designated as examination centres for them and the District Administration will hand over the schools which have been turned into quarantine facilities to the Education Department before June 25, hence the closing of all free quarantine facilities. While there will be a few free quarantine centres in each district for the Sikkimese people who can’t afford the paid quarantine facility. The entry permits will be allotted based on the vacancy at district quarantine facilities.
SNT’s Secretary, Raju Basnet, informed from June 18 when people will have to board scheduled SNT buses, the bookings will have to be made themselves.
“Upon entering the state, the home quarantine will be granted only to terminally ill patients, most returnees will have to stay in designated quarantine facilities. COVID-19 test for returnees will be conducted on the 5th day of stay in quarantine facilities. For the ones whose test results are negative, they will be granted permission for home quarantine. We appeal to the people who after facility quarantine, are granted home quarantine for 21 days-28 days or more, to be disciplined and not only think of themselves and their family but also the State’s well-being. No other state has carried out such evacuation operations like Sikkim,” said Karma Namgyal Bhutia, Principal Chief Engineer cum General Manager of SNT Division.
The Nodal Officer Chewang Rinzing Bhutia, also extended gratitude, on behalf of the Evacuation Cell, to the Chief Minister P.S. Tamang, Cabinet Ministers for trusting them with the task of facilitating the safe return of the stranded Sikkimese people and the Chief Secretary S.C. Gupta for his guidance and support during the evacuation process.
Chewang Rinzing Bhutia thanked the Resident Commissioner of Sikkim House, New Delhi, officials in Kolkata and Siliguri for their coordination and efforts, as well as the frontline warriors and the officials from the State Government departments inside and outside the state for their service in the pandemic.
Inputs from IPR