Assam: How Effective is COVID-19 SOP?

The Assam government comes up with many SOPs since the COVID-19 pandemic started with its unlocking system but how effective are these SOPs. The recent SOP issued by the state government where it announced certain relaxations are contradictory to itself.

In the new SOP, the government eased certain restrictions but is the implementation process effective is a big question.

The Assam government in its new SOP said that pillion riding is allowed from now onwards only if the one person has taken one dose of vaccine. But who will monitor whether the pillion riders are vaccinated or not.

COVID-19 and Curfew

The COVID-19 curfew has shown a reverse situation in Guwahati and other parts of the state. Earlier, people used to know that curfew means one cannot step out of their house but during this pandemic, hundreds of cars are seen in the streets during the curfew time and there is no police or officials from administration to control or monitor as from where these vehicles are coming from.

The traffic police personnel are seen at certain traffic points but in the remaining areas of the city there are no police or patrolling vehicles to monitor the vehicles.

COVID-19 and Educational Institutions

The Assam government has allowed reopening the schools and colleges from Higher Secondary final year up to PG level in condition that only 30 students are allowed to seat in a section. The students will have to be vaccinated with even one dose and has given a time of three days to get them vaccinated for those who have not yet been vaccinated. The question is why the government has not taken any such step to provide vaccine for the students earlier when they know that the schools and colleges will be reopened from September 1.  

The state government would have provided the facility for the teachers and students to get them vaccinated before the educational institutions reopen.

The government of Assam also asked the schools and colleges to increase the number of classrooms. In many schools and colleges in remote areas in Assam there is not even two classrooms, how will they increase the number of sections where there is no adequate infrastructure.

Resuming of Public Transport

The public transport has been allowed to resume with 100% passengers with the same fare as earlier. On the one hand, the motor transport association said that they will increase the fare by 50% and on the other, the government instructed not to increase the fare. Who will monitor whether the public transport which has been allowed to resume with 100% passenger but cannot carry standing passengers, if they have taken high fare from the passengers.

The city buses are running with full passengers before the government issued the new guidelines and also charged double the fare from the passengers but the transport department is least bothered to monitor the issue.

Question arises as to why the concerned department is silent on such issues. Even after the government issued guidelines that they should charge minimum fares from the passengers as 100% passengers are allowed to carry in the public transport, the city buses are still charging high fares.

Reopening of Auditoriums and Other Theatres Excluding Cinema Halls

The government of Assam has allowed auditoriums to reopen with 50% capacity. If the auditoriums could operate with 50% capacity then why not cinema halls which suffered a lot during the pandemic. The cinema hall owners have also opposed the decision of the state government saying that if other auditoriums could reopen why not cinema halls.

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