Wholesale markets to open, movement for pass holders only

STAFF REPORTER
IMPHAL, 6th May: In view of the developments in neighbouring states and arrival of natives stranded outside Manipur, the State Cabinet on Wednesday announced a new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), placing restrictions on activities that were relaxed in an earlier SOP on May 3 along with the extension of the lockdown over COVID-19 for two weeks.
According to the new SOP issued by the State Disaster Management Authority chairperson and state chief secretary Dr J Suresh Babu, all markets in Imphal Area including the three Ima markets will remain closed. However, wholesale markets shall remain open on all days except Sundays for selling to retail shops, as per permit issued by the DCs. Home delivery of all essential commodities is permitted and all local retail shops dealing with groceries, meat, vegetables and fish will be opened in all districts from 6am to 2 pm except Sundays. In addition, all vehicular movement have been restricted except for pass holders.
The order also placed a strict ban on liquor, gutka and tobacco shops. Spitting in public places is punishable with fine. Wearing of masks is compulsory in public places and strict social distancing should be maintained.
It may be noted that shops including those selling liquor, gutka and tobacco products were earlier allowed to stay opened from 6am to 4pm in the state.
The new SOP further ordered organisations/managers to prohibit gathering of 5 or more people. Prior permission should be taken from the District Magistrates for gatherings related to marriages, funerals and other religious events.
Additionally, all work spaces should have adequate arrangements for temperature screening and provide hand sanitisers at convenient places. Persons above 65 years of age, including those with co-morbidities and parents of children above 5 years of age should be encouraged to work from home. Work places should ensure strict social distancing and large meetings/gatherings should be prohibited.
As per the order, all goods vehicles are allowed to cross interstate border at Mao, Jiribam and Jessami gates, provided that occupants of the trucks and other carrier vehicles consists of two drivers and one helper. All drivers and helpers entering the state from outside must follow the mandatory SOP issued by the state Home Department. Any person visiting their home shall remain under home quarantine as per the advice of the health department. All truck repair shops and dhabas on national highways are allowed to be opened, subject to the social distancing prescribed.
All hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, dispensaries, chemists, pharmacists and all medical equipment shops shall remain opened. Medical laboratories and collection centres, along with veterinary hospitals, dispensaries, clinics and related pathological laboratories and sale and supply of vaccines are also permitted. Moreover, public utilities including distribution of LPG through home delivery, postal services, telecommunication and internet services, water/sanitation and waste management sectors are allowed.
However, separate orders will be issued for petrol pumps.
The order further relaxed agricultural and related activities, including operation of fish farms and fishing and fish feed plants.
With regard to the finance sector, bank branches, ATMs and business correspondents are permitted. In addition, Anganwadi centres are to distribute the food items and nutrition at the doorsteps of the beneficiaries once every 15 days. However, beneficiaries should not attend Anganwadi centres and all education institutions, training and coaching centres will remain closed. MNREGA works are allowed in rural areas with strict implementation of social distancing and wearing of facemasks.
The new SOP also relaxed the movement of private vehicles for emergency services including medical and veterinary care and the movement of all exempted category of employees to their work places.
Additionally, all government offices shall be opened and all officers of the rank of Under Secretary and above should attend their respective offices, while for other categories, 33 percent of staff will attend office on rotation basis.
All Treasury offices will function with required staff and all offices dealing with essential services will function normally. However, there shall be a total ban on visitors to the offices, the order informed.


© 2016 - 2020 The People's Chronicle. All rights reserved.