GUWAHATI, June 15 - With the surge in new COVID-19 positive cases, the Kamrup (Metro) administration has been declaring new containment zones almost every day, besides putting a large number of people under home quarantine at the same time for the last two months.
On the other hand, dearth of staff has made it impossible for the administrative machinery to keep round-the-clock vigil on containment zones and home-quarantined people.
�The increasing number of containment zones and home-quarantined people is a challenge for us. It increases the workload on our staff and causes delay in completing their duties,� Deputy Commissioner Biswajit Pegu told The Assam Tribune.
Pegu admitted that the increasing workload has also caused delay in collection of swabs from people residing in containment zones. As a rule, it is necessary to collect the swab just one day after declaration of a containment zone. But in Guwahati this routine activity gets delayed by two to three days due to the mounting workload on health workers.
�People who have been violating norms of containment zone and home quarantine are a new cause of concern for us. We are requesting them to adhere to the norms in a proper way. But repeated violation of the same will attract legal action under the Disaster Management Act,� Pegu asserted.
Staff crunch in the police force has also become a challenge in implementation of containment zone norms in the city. In general, it is necessary to deploy police personnel at the entry or exit point of a containment zone. In the initial stage, when Guwahati had only a few containment zones, the administration used to deploy a number of police personnel in areas where necessary. But at present, in many containment zones, the presence of police personnel is almost nil. In such a situation, the administration has appealed to all nagarik committees (citizen committees) to play the role of police in their respective places.
A ground study by The Assam Tribune revealed that sections of people volunteer to implement the norms of a containment zone in their respective localities.
�As a citizen it is my duty to help in implementation the norms of a containment zone. So I am here since morning,� said a youth residing in a containment zone declared by the administration last week in Panbazar area.
The zone is located near the Panbazar Police Station, but during a visit by this reporter no police personnel was seen in its entry or exit points. So the youth, who wished anonymity, engaged himself in preventing illegal trespassing in the zone.
He alleged that though cases of COVID-19 have been surging every day, mass awareness is abysmally low. Many people even don�t follow social distancing norms.
�In every market place of Guwahati, blatant violation of social distancing norms is taking place. It proves how unaware we are,� Jogen Das, a resident of Panbazar area said.