GUWAHATI, July 19 - The guidelines issued by the State Government to unlock Kamrup (Metro) have attracted mixed reactions, largely tilted towards those who found the guidelines ambiguous and lacking clarity. In the wake of such confusion, many traders may continue to down their shutters on Monday.
Not satisfied with the unlock order issued by the Chief Secretary, netizens took to social media questioning several guidelines. While some questioned how the government was planning to enforce the restrictions on private vehicles, the business community did not approve of the idea of COVID testing made mandatory for shopkeepers and their employees.
Several guidelines did not go down well with the who�s who of the automobile industry, who said that there were confusions galore and the government must issue a modified order. �We still do not know whether automobile dealers or showrooms would be treated as shops or offices in view of the one-side-of the-road norm. The buying process may be severally affected if the showrooms are treated as shops, since the process of buying is continuous in nature and needs some time. There also prevails ambiguity about whether or not customers can visit the showrooms. If the unlock is intended to revive the industry, then such an unclear order does not help,� a Guwahati-based automobile dealer told The Assam Tribune. He said that under such confusion, many showrooms may not open. �We want the government to come up with a clearer and modified order,� he said.
Supreme Court lawyer Kaushik Choudhury said, �Public safety will be at a higher risk and it will be extremely dangerous if private vehicle are restricted while allowing Ola and Uber. Public will behave more responsibly if private vehicles are allowed. Use of cabs instead of private vehicles will take social distancing for a toss and only increase the transmission.�
Trader Abhishek Agarwal said the compulsory testing policy of the government is logic-defying. �COVID-19 test report takes at least 5-7 days and if that is the case, then a trader would have to remain indoors during those days making the unlock irrelevant. In case of construction sites, how are we supposed to bring labourers from outside Guwahati if there is a ban on movement of private vehicles?� he asked.
Two other traders, Amit Jalan and Mintu Prasad, said that making COVID-19 test compulsory for traders hardly serves the purpose of unlocking. Prasad expressed reservation on the safety of COVID centres and vouched for door-to-door testing, while Jalan said it was high time that the government adopts the Delhi-model which seems to be working not just for traders but the public as well.
Jalan said the guideline asking traders to test themselves was �baffling� since a person can get positive at any time even after testing negative on the first occasion. �Is anybody going to keep a tab on that? We are not against testing but that has to be done in an organised manner and not in haste,� he said.
Meanwhile, in a decision taken on Sunday evening, the government modified its order, saying shop owners or their employees need not carry a COVID-19 negative status report. The Health department will conduct random tests in a phased manner, it said.