GUWAHATI: The Assam government on Monday decided to provide financial assistance to those people from the state stranded in other areas due to the nationwide lockdown, Finance and Health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
A helpline number has been given where the people hailing from the state can give a missed call.
Once that is done they will be provided with a link to provide their details, including bank account numbers, the minister said at a press conference here.
"We have been receiving many distress calls to bring back people from across the country but it will not be possible now as inter-state connectivity is unlikely to be restored immediately," he said.
The exact amount of the assistance will be announced later after taking in consideration the number of calls received, he said.
However, he clarified that those who were working outside the state but returned home before the lockdown are not eligible for the assistance.
"We are reaching out to poor students and workers who are not getting salaries due to the lockdown," he said.
Piramal Foundation along with over 400 students of Assam Engineering College (AEC), Cotton University and Gauhati University have volunteered to engage themselves in helping with the application process, Sarma said.
The process will also lead to the creation of a database which will later "help us in ascertaining the number of people who will return to the state in future and we have to take precautionary health measures accordingly", the minister said.
After the applications are received, necessary verification will be made by the deputy commissioners and if found valid, the amount will be transferred to their respective bank accounts, he said.
The state government had earlier announced financial assistance to cancer, kidney, heart and liver transplant patients from Assam who went for treatment outside the state and got stranded.
"Family members of 919 patients have contacted the call centre and we decided to pay Rs 25,000 to each patient," Sarma said.
Money has already been transferred to the family members of 213 patients while the others found eligible will also receive the amount soon, he added.
The Assam goverment has also offered financial help to those stranded abroad while on an official or educational tour at the time the lockdown was announced.
"We have already transferred the first instalment of one thousand dollars to 21 persons who had applied and the second instalment will be paid by April 25," he said.