New Delhi: Arvind Kejriwal’s Delhi government has a solution for private sector employees engaged in essential services who need to be out during the Covid-19 lockdown and are being stopped by the police. The government will now provide e-passes to such employees, as well as residents stuck outside the city or in border areas.
At a joint press conference with Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal Wednesday, Kejriwal said the e-passes will be issued in the interest of vegetable vendors, grocers and milk-sellers, to ensure smooth supply of daily use items in the national capital during the 21-day lockdown implemented to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The Covid-19 lockdown period is set to last until 15 April.
The e-passes can be issued through WhatsApp, the details of which will be provided on a soon-to-be launched helpline number 1031, or at the offices of district magistrates.
Kejriwal also clarified that the public doesn’t need passes to go to the nearest grocery stores. Appealing to the people of Delhi to avoid panic-buying, he assured them that the government would ensure that shops selling milk, vegetables, grocery items and medicines will remain open. He also asserted that there was no scarcity of these essentials.
Baijal said the government would ensure strict implementation of the lockdown in Delhi, and Kejriwal urged people to stay at home.
Whom will e-passes help?
ThePrint has learnt that the Delhi government had received feedback about several cases where those from private firms, ration shops and even media personnel were being stopped by policemen on the roads. An e-pass will help in such situations.
An official in the Lieutenant Governor’s office told ThePrint: “The idea is to ensure transparency and enhance effectiveness while those under essential services are commuting during the lockdown.”
“Many people, especially many milk plant owners, do not have a valid ID card. The idea is to generate an e-pass for them as well,” the official added.
Delhi residents stranded outside the city for any reason will be allowed to enter on the production of any valid ID or residence proof showing their address in Delhi.
Those coming from outside can apply for an e-pass through WhatsApp to authorised mobile numbers, or the email ID email@example.com, giving their particulars along with relevant documents.
“Such an e-pass shall also be received on the same WhatsApp number or email of the applicant,” states the Delhi government order released Tuesday night.
Helpline for police harassment
The Delhi government has also given out the helpline number 011-22459536 to bring to its notice if anyone is harassed or ill-treated by the police during the 21-day lockdown.
Meanwhile, a 24×7 control room has been set up at the office of the Divisional Commissioner in Delhi, and also at all the offices of district magistrates.
An ACP-rank officer will be available at all control rooms at all times to ensure proper liaison with the offices of district magistrates on real-time basis.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.