Assam tweaks curfew hours to 6 pm to 6 am during extended lockdown
The Assam government on Sunday announced a statewide curfew between 6 pm and 6 am starting from Monday on all days during the extended lockdown in view of Covid-19 pandemic.
The state government’s directive is different from the Union home ministry guidelines issued earlier which proposed curfew from 7 pm and 7 am. While no reason was given for the change, officials said the step was taken as sunrise and sunset in the state happen earlier than other parts of the country.
“Directives have been issued to police to take stringent action against curfew violators. Hence, we request everyone to ensure that the restrictions are complied with,” Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said while announcing the curfew.
However, pharmacies, media houses, medical establishments, fire services, ambulances and government vehicles on official duty will be exempted from the curfew.
From Monday, oupatients departments at hospitals, doctors’ clinics, veterinary clinics, pathological laboratories and standalone shops in rural and urban areas will be allowed to resume services.
Shops in market places will be allowed to open on a 1/3 policy i.e. there should be a gap of two closed shops between two open shops. The rule won’t apply for bookstores, grocery shops and pharmacies.
All offices and business establishments will have to close at 5 pm in order to allow employees, customers to reach homes before the 6 pm curfew. Auto-rickshaws, cycle-rickshaws, taxis and private vehicles will be allowed to operate with one driver and a maximum of two passengers.
Two-wheelers will be allowed to ply with pillion riding allowed for women and children below 12 years of age. All construction activities will be allowed to resume with 50% workforce. E-commerce services will also start.
Buses will be allowed to ply within a district and outside with 50% passengers. Tea stalls, juice stalls, restaurants, ice-cream parlours etc. can open but only take away and home delivery will be allowed.
From Monday government and private offices will open with 50% employees. But women employees with children under 5 years of age are not needed to attend office.
Barber shops, saloons, spas, beauty parlours etc. won’t be allowed to open, but barbers and beauticians can provide home service. In view of African Swine Fever detected in pigs in Assam, no vehicles carrying livestock will be allowed entry into the state.
“All relaxations are only for districts in green zones, but earlier restrictions will continue for red and orange zones. Morigaon, Goalpara, Dhubri and Bongaigaon districts are in orange zone,” Sarma said.
“We would like to stress that wearing masks and maintenance of social distancing norms will have to be followed. Persons above 65 years and those under 12 years will not be allowed to step out of their homes unless for medical emergencies,” he added.
Sarma said that besides the guidelines issues by the state government, the earlier restrictions and relaxations allowed by the Union home ministry will continue to be followed.
Assam has recorded 42 Covid-19 cases so far out of which nine are active cases, 32 have been discharged and one has died.
Earlier in the day, chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal appealed to people to follow lockdown guidelines.
“I appeal to the people of Assam to follow the guidelines of the lockdown effectively especially with regards to social distancing, wearing of masks of maintaining hygiene,” Sonowal said.
On Sunday, the state government also constituted an eight member economic advisory committee to revive economy.
The committee headed by retired IAS officer Subhash Das would study various aspects of Assam’s economy and suggest recommendations to boost it through systematic interventions.