Not getting e-passes, say some essential service providers
Days after the Delhi government imposed a week-long lockdown to arrest the spread of Covid-19, people involved in the essential services said they were finding it difficult to get passes, and that their requests were either getting rejected or lying pending for days.
Rajat Abbey, whose family owns a chemicals company, said he was trying to secure a pass for the past two days to deliver essential products needed in the pharmaceutical industry. “I have bills from the National Centre for Disease Control and the Indian Red Cross Society seeking supplies from our company. I have uploaded all these documents on the portal along with my Aadhar card, but the requests keep getting rejected,” said Abbey.
“We are providing supplies to the government. These are urgent requirements. The portal says that the documents are incomplete. It doesn’t even clearly specify what more is needed so that we can arrange additional documents accordingly,” said Abbey.
Ranjeet Raghav, operations head at a food manufacturing company, said his requests for passes were rejected seven times. “I applied on the Delhi government and Delhi Police portal but to no avail. As a last resort, I reached out to the Delhi Traffic Police handle on Twitter which directed me to the Delhi government. I even called on the Covid helpline but got no help. I work in a grain manufacturing company, and our products cannot be stored for long,” said Raghav.
In addition to those working in the chemical and food processing industries, restaurants are also facing problems. Manpreet Singh, treasurer of National Restaurants Association of India, who also owns Zen restaurant in Connaught Place, said he failed to secure passes for himself and other staff members. “I applied for the pass at least five times in my name and two to three times in the name of my staff but all requests were rejected within six to eight hours without any reason. We have tried various combinations like providing Aadhar, FSSAI license, visiting card, pan card, and other documents, to secure passes but nothing works,” said Singh.
Singh has asked the staff to stay within the restaurant premises while the deliveries are being managed through food-delivery apps such as Zomato and Swiggy. Singh said the upside was that his staff was not getting exposed by being in one location.
Abhi Kumar, a cashier at Sagar Ratna restaurant, GK-2, said the restaurant has been facing problems in securing passes for its staff. “We have been trying to secure passes for the past five days but to no avail. Either no valid reason is cited for rejection of the request or we are told that the documents are incomplete,” said Kumar.
Saurabh Suman, manager of Pebble Street in New Friends Colony (NFC), said the restaurant applied for passes for 10 people, of which the request for six staff members got sanctioned. “The portal doesn’t give a reason behind the rejection of a request, so we can’t proceed. We are now managing with the staff who have been able to secure the passes,” said Suman.
When approached about the issue of difficulties being faced by essential service providers to get passes, a Delhi government spokesperson declined to comment.