Entire north eastern region could become coronavirus free very soon: Jitendra Singh

New Delhi, Apr 29 (PTI) Highlighting the government's effort in tackling the COVID-19 situation, Union minister Jitendra Singh on Wednesday said the entire north eastern region could very soon become coronavirus free.

He held interactions with former army generals and air marshals via video conference and received coronavirus- related inputs in the context of northeast region, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh from them.

'Singh updated the senior defence personnel that in the north eastern region, 5 out of 8 states have already become coronavirus-free while the other 3 states have not added any new positive case in the last few days, which means very soon the entire north eastern region could become COVID-19-free,' a statement issued by the Personnel Ministry quoted him as saying.

Similarly, updating on Jammu and Kashmir, he said in the entire Jammu region only 15 coronavirus cases remained, while in Kashmir certain pockets like Bandipora, etc. were still a reason for concern but steadily coming out of it.

All the participants were unanimous in their opinion about the commendable manner in which the government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi effectively led the war against COVID-19 pandemic, the statement said.

'They also appreciated that the entire northeast region was among the major big areas of India which had gradually come out of the coronavirus onslaught. Similarly, they also appreciated the effective administration under the present regime in Jammu and Kashmir which had helped in containing the enormity of the COVID-19 spread,' it said.

About the lockdown, the general opinion was that relaxation should be gradual, the statement said.

'Similarly, for the north east, the general advice was that sealing of the borders with other countries like Bangladesh has been beneficial,' it added.

'In both north east and Jammu and Kashmir the attitude of the common people was described as favourable. Similarly, views were also expressed about the option of online shopping and online classes,' the statement said.

Singh, the minister of state for personnel, said most of the former generals and air marshals did not only have first-hand knowledge of the peculiar situation in the terrains of both Jammu and Kashmir and north eastern region, but as prominent members of civil society and eminent citizens after superannuation they also enjoyed distinguished role as opinion makers.

He said, their inputs and suggestions were not only valuable for improving efforts in the fight against coronavirus but could also give an insight into some of the aspects from their own perspective.

Prominent among those who interacted and offered their views during the video conference were General V P Malik, former chief of the Army Staff, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, former chief of the Air Staff of Indian Air Force, Lt General Sharath Chand, former Vice Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Deependra Singh Hooda, former GoC Northern Command, Lt General Ranbir Singh, former GoC Northern Command, Lt General Rakesh Sharma and Major General S K Sharma. PTI AKV AAR AAR