With Prime Minister Narendra Modi set to make an announcement on nationwide lockdown’s second phase Tuesday morning, Haryana government Monday got into an overdrive preparing for certain state-specific relaxations. These relaxations are expected to be implemented in Haryana immediately after the PM’s address.
Sources in the government told The Indian Express that top bureaucrats of the state have been informed to hold meetings with traders and industrialists and ask them to “be prepared for a graded exit from the lockdown at least in certain areas across Haryana”.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar first hinted at a graded exit soon after PM video-conference with all chief ministers Saturday where Khattar announced that the state shall be divided into three zones — red, orange and green — depending upon the number of COVID-19 cases and vulnerability of the areas.
On Monday evening, Khattar said that the state will roll out its plan keeping in mind the norms of social distancing and the PM’s lockdown conditions after they are announced. He said: “There are three type of areas in the state. One where corona has had a major impact like Gurgaon, Faridabad, Nuh and Palwal. There are few districts where the impact is negligible and then there are places where many people are in quarantine with fears that cases may rise. So after dividing areas into three zones – red, orange and green – we can look at resumption of some economic activities in a phased manner. We need your support in this.”
A senior government official told The Indian Express: “There is a possibility that the districts of Mahendragarh, Rewari, Fatehabad, Charkhi Dadri and Rohtak may be included in the green zone. Also, Bhiwani, Hisar, Jind, Kaithal and Kurukshetra can be included in the green zone if no fresh COVID case is reported from these districts in the coming days. In that case, some relaxations in the ongoing lockdown may be allowed in at least 10 out of 22 districts of the state.”
Earlier in the day, Haryana’s Chief Secretary Keshni Anand Arora chaired a video conference with Additional Chief Secretaries who were deployed across all the districts since March 25 to supervise, planning and coordination of COVID-19 arrangements and Deputy Commissioners. In the video conference, a few officers emphasised that their district should be covered under green zone since there was no coronavirus cases there till date.
D Suresh, Commissioner, Rohtak division, pointed out that since there was no positive case in Rohtak district, the entire area shall be covered under green zone.
Measures to avoid chaos
Chief Secretary, according to sources, asked officers to arrange meetings with traders, factory owners, industrialists and voluntary organisations to ensure that while “opening the economic activity”, there is no chaos and social distancing is duly maintained.
It was also learnt that the Chief Secretary asked officers to “identify the trades other than confectionary shops” that can be opened.
Delivering books to students
The Chief Secretary, however, reiterated that arrangements should be made to provide books to the children at their doorsteps so that they can continue their learning during the period of lockdown. A few officers also suggested that school buses should be utilised for the purpose of delivering books at children’s doorsteps.
Opening liquor stores
After liquor’s home delivery began in West Bengal and liquor shops were opened in Assam, Haryana government is also likely to begin the process of auctioning and allotment of the liquor vends later this week. Sources told The Indian Express that certain sections within the government had been persistently raising the demand that liquor shops be opened for a few hours, during the day time similar to what Assam government had done (from 10 am to 5 pm).
Arora, according to sources, also asked officers to ensure that when fair price shops and other establishments open, their operators/owners keep their workforce inside their premises and also practice social distancing.
During the video conference, Arora also added that the “weekly roster of grocery shops including their opening time and the time duration should be prepared so that it can be ensured that each shop is opened in a systematic manner”.
Containment zone plans
Almost all the districts in Haryana have prepared their district-wise containment zone plans to meet any exigencies. In the video conference, she directed officers that the “planning of containment zone should be reviewed regularly so that the categorization of zones as per the red, green and orange should be done”. She also directed officers that, if required, “district administration and police should monitor the entry and exit of containment zones through CCTVs” adding that “the intensive testing in containment zones and slum areas should be done on a priority basis”.
Odd-even scheme for banking?
Haryana’s Additional Chief Secretary (Finance) T V S N Prasad also suggested that to avoid overcrowding in the banks, certain mechanisms are being worked out. He suggested that “those account holders whose account number ends with 1 or 2 can visit the banks on Monday, those whose account number ends with 3 or 4 can visit Tuesday, 5 and 6 for Wednesday, 7 and 8 for Thursday, and 9 for Friday and during the weekdays, if any account holder could not visit, such people can visit the banks on Saturdays”.
He added that the government was in constant touch with the banks and certain suggestions have been offered to the banks to avoid overcrowding. “Banks have been asked to make a three-phase plan in which a mechanism should be prepared under which a volunteer or a bank representative will be deployed outside the banks to avoid overcrowding inside the bank premises. Bank officials have also been asked to start a mobile SMS service to fix the bank appointment so that only those who will get the appointment should visit the bank. Deputy Commissioners should ensure marking outside the banks is in a systematic manner and the entry of the visitors in the bank should be done in a restricted and time-bound manner”.
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