New Delhi: With long queues at police stations for "curfew pass", the Delhi government on Wednesday announced it would issue e-passes to those delivering essential services within and outside city limits. It also announced a helpline for those who have been "harassed" by state enforcement agencies, including police, to register their complaint.
The announcement came as reports emerged of delivery agents and workers being unable to reach their destination amid the stringent lockdown traffic restrictions enforced to curb the spread of Covid-19.
"Those who are providing essential services, but do not have a formal ID card to back their claim will be issued an e-pass," Kejriwal said in a digital press conference. "Workers at grocery and provisional stores, milk plants and others can avail this. Only those engaged with such services without an ID should call on the helpline. Others should refrain from calling on it... Those working in factories producing masks, sanitisers, milk, etc. will not face any problem once they get the e-passes. They should get the same for their drivers too so that transportation of such items are not affected"
The government released a helpline number '1031' for the purpose. The CM said the facility to apply for the pass online will be provided as well.
Previously, everyone, including providers of essential services had to get "curfew passes" by approaching and applying with the offices of deputy commissioners of police and district magistrates. The e-pass initiative, government officials said, is likely to reduce the burden on these offices. Around 2,400 curfew passes were issued till Wednesday 11 am, the police said.
In case of harassment by police or other enforcement officers during the lockdown period, Kejriwal announced another helpline number 011-23469526, which will monitored directly by the Delhi Police commissioner.
Kejriwal urged people not to crowd grocery and medical stores, saying that doing so would defeat the purpose of the 21-day nationwide lockdown.The chief minister also said people didn't need curfew passes to buy from grocery shops located in their neighbourhood.
"We assure you that supplies of commodities of your daily needs will not dry up. Do not resort to panic buying," Kejriwal said .
ACTION AGAINST LANDLORDS
The Delhi government empowered district magistrates and zonal officers in the city to take "strict penal action" against landlords who have been forcing their tenant health care personnel, engaged in treating Covid-19 patients, to vacate.
"Such behaviour amounts to obstructing public servants in discharging their duties," read the order which HT has reviewed. The order came a day after the Delhi chief minister said how he was hurt by such news surfacing from across the city.
On Wednesday, Kejriwal again talked about the issue.
"It can not be tolerated. Strict action will be taken," Kejriwal said.
Invoking the Delhi Epidemics Diseases, Covid-19 Regulations, the order said the district magistrates, zonal deputy commissioners of municipal corporations and the deputy commissioner of police are "directed to take strict penal action against such landlords and house owners under the relevant provisions of law".
These officials have also been asked to submit their Action Taken Report on a daily basis to the office of the Additional chief secretary of the Delhi government's home department.
Resident doctors of India's premier hospital AIIMS on Tuesday had sought the government's intervention saying their colleagues were facing eviction from their homes by their landlords, who fear the medical professionals at the forefront of the fight against the novel coronavirus could be infected.
In a letter to Home Minister Amit Shah, the Resident Doctors Association said many staffers were "stranded on roads" with all their luggage, and urged him to immediately release an order, prohibiting landlords from evicting the health care professionals working tirelessly against the virus from their rented houses.
Shah has spoken to the Delhi police chief and asked him to take immediate action to ensure the security of doctors facing harassment.
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