Guwahati, Apr 24: Nearly one lakh people will be facilitated for inter-district movement within Assam over the next three days from tomorrow to help stranded people return home or visit hospitals while strictly adhering to lockdown norms, including social distancing and personal hygiene.
While over 50,000 people are likely to be allowed to use their own vehicles for the one-way passage, more than 40,000 will be provided free-of-cost public transportation by the state government. Addressing a press conference here today, state Health and Finance Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “In response to our decision to allow limited inter-district movement of specific categories of people after due permission, we have received 51,402 requests for travelling by own vehicle.”
“Out of these, passes for 12,206 vehicles are being provided for tomorrow (April 25), and passes for 19,000 more will be provided for the next two days. Another 19,000 requests were rejected on various grounds,” he said. Moreover, 41,651 requests were received on helpline number 104 from people for availing government transportation facilities, the minister said. He added, “This is a tough task for Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC), given its limited resources.
But we will ensure that everyone gets help to reach their destinations. The cost of transportation through ASTC will be borne by the Health department.” The persons availing ASTC services will get their tickets over phone and limited taxi service and ASTC city bus service will be allowed in Guwahati for helping the people to reach their designated pick-up points. “If the lockdown continues, we may open such inter-district movement through special permission at a later stage,” Dr Sarma said, adding that no person from red zone districts will be allowed to travel outside from the place, though someone wishing to enter the district, will be permitted. While patients and their attendants will be granted two-way permission for visiting hospitals, with the condition that the patient is traveling in the vehicle, people stranded in different districts, including students and migrant workers, will also be allowed to travel after due permission through their own vehicles or ASTC buses. The government has laid down specific rules for the travelers, including compulsorily wearing masks and boarding and getting down at designated points. Altogether 35 positive cases of COVID 19 have been detected in the state so far, with one patient succumbing to complications caused by the infection and 19 other cured and discharged from hospitals. UNI