File photo of Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on May 20 urged Civil Aviation ministry to operate flights to evacuate its stranded citizens, including students, migrant workers and others to the state.

Till date, more than 7050 people who were stranded across the country have arrived in the state. Some of them have either travelled by buses while most of them have boarded the train up to Guwahati railway station and thereafter by buses to their respective districts of the state.

“There are lots of people who have expressed their willingness to pay for the flight tickets. Because of that we got in touch with lots of airlines and we got different prices and quotations for it and some quotations were very reasonable,” Sangma said.

He also said that the pricing of the tickets was reasonable considering the social distancing factor where the seats would have to be reduced.

“Our next step is to get the permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Civil Aviation ministry and that is the reason why we were not able to go for the plane option,” the chief minister said.

Informing that he had also spoken to his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal, Sangma said that special trains carrying stranded residents of the state will depart from Haryana, Gurgoan, Mumbai and Pune in the coming days.

He said a train from Hyderabad carrying people of the state will start on May 21.

On the economic package announced by the Centre in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the chief minister said that the state government was waiting for the details of the financial package.

“We are yet to get the details as to who are eligible for it, what are the procedures. Once we figure out all of those aspects and see how the areas will be covered then our job is to ensure that maximum of people get benefit,” he said.

Moreover, Sangma said that one needs to go into the details of the economic condition in the state and the region as a whole and look at the strength and challenges faced.

“A lot of analysis is needed to be done very fast, which we are hoping to do within the next two-three weeks to have a strong picture before us and then we can take a call,” he said.

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