On Monday, Assam announced guidelines for the fourth phase of the nationwide lockdown. The state’s new guidelines impose restrictions on localised containment zones, rather than following the earlier classification of red, orange and green zones.
While a number of relaxations were already introduced during Lockdown 3.0, especially with regard to industries and economic activities, the fourth phase sees changes in terms of standalone shops and offices — which may now work at hundred per cent capacity.
On Monday, an order signed by State Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna said curfew timings would change from 6 pm – 6 am to 7 pm to 7 am in the state. While earlier, shops could open on certain days in a week following a ‘one-third’ rule, they can now run at full capacity, on all days of the week, except in containment zones.
“Large standalone shops are allowed to operate with limited number of entrants,” the order stated. Haats and bazaars and weekly markets remain closed through the state. While malls will remain closed, private offices in mall premises may open.
The order also noted that e-commerce for all commodities is allowed but delivery will be permitted till 7 PM. “However, back end activities, including warehouse, are allowed at all hours.” it added.
Barber shops and salons, however, will remain closed — with an exception of home calls, “following hygiene and sanitisation norms.”
The order also added that “Government offices shall function normally but with staggered work hours for employees.”
The rules of public transport remain the same as it was in Lockdown 3.0 — all buses can ply at 50 per cent capacity, three-wheelers and two-wheelers can have two more persons apart from the driver. On two wheelers, pillion-riding is allowed only for women and children below ten.
The state also allowed trucks carrying livestock to enter the state — apart from those carrying pigs. This is due to the outbreak of African Swine Fever disease in the states, due to which nearly 15,000 pigs have died.
Emphasis on Job opportunities for returning migrants
On Monday, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal reiterated the need to provide job opportunities to migrants who have recently returned to Assam. CM Sonowal said that migrant workers with masonry skills have to be “immediately put to work.”
In a video conference, the CM also asked the Block Development Officers to work towards strengthening the rural economy. The government had earlier announced that the returning migrant workers will be given Job Cards and provided work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) as well as “hassle-free loans.” Panchayat and Rural Development (P&RD) minister Naba Kr Doley said that these cards will be provided within seven days.
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