Newspapers an essential item, yet Noida residents not receiving them
Even though newspapers fall in the category of essential services, residents in Noida said they are not receiving newspapers and other periodicals either because their residents’ welfare bodies have decided to stop their distributions or owing to lapses on the part of vendors.
When the three-week lockdown was initially announced, it wasn’t clear whether newspapers fell under the category of essential services. However, government guidelines soon made it clear that there were no restrictions on newspaper delivery and officials also clarified that the Covid-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) is not transmitted through newspapers.
“The newspaper delivery in our area was stopped. Initially, no one objected but when it became clear that there are no issues with newspapers as such, we requested that we should get them. However, some residents continued to object. But during these times, when so much fake news is going around online, we also need a reliable source of information. So finally, we said we will take our newspapers and those who have objections should not take theirs,” colonel (retired) Shashi Vaid, chairman, Arun Vihar Residents Welfare Association, said.
He said initially the vendor had stopped making rounds of their area and when asked, he said that he was having trouble crossing the border. But that issue was later sorted, Vaid said.
Most of the high-rises in Noida have restricted the movement of outsiders within their premises, including newspaper vendors and domestic helps.
“Our vendor has been instructed to leave the newspapers at the society’s main gate and those people who don’t want to take their papers can refrain from collecting them. But we are now getting our newspapers and the extra ones will be traded later to procure flowerpots for the society,” said Rajiva Singh, president, AOA, Stellar Kings Court, Sector 50.
Vendors also said in the beginning of the lockdown, they were having a problems with the supply.
“Our Delhi person was not able to drop off our quota because of restrictions at the border. By the time that situation was resolved, my delivery persons had gone on leave. Now, I am having trouble getting them back to work. However, we will restart the deliveries in a day or two,” Guddu, a vendor supplying newspapers in 7x sectors, said.
He also said some residential bodies had called him and asked him to stop distribution. But, for the past few days, individual subscribers are calling him to say that they want their newspapers, and so the vendors are restarting deliveries.
“We decided to call off the newspaper delivery from the day the lockdown started because that was what the majority of residents wanted. A couple of requests have now come in but we will wait for the majority to agree and review the situation in a day or two,” Amit Gupta, president, AOA, Prateek Wisteria, saod.
Meanwhile, police said that as newspapers were listed under essential services, their movement cannot be stopped at borders and vendors cannot refuse to provide them, else action can be taken against them.
“However, RWAs can take a call as to whether they want to permit the service in their society or sector. But if an individual wishes to continue with his/her subscription, he/she can instruct the vendor and collect the periodicals directly from the vendor,” additional deputy commissioner of police, zone 1, Kumar Ranvijay Singh said.