Coronavirus lockdown: Chandigarh VIPs want curfew passes for salon women, walking their dog

It seems most of the VIPs in Chandigarh, which is under curfew because of the countrywide coronavirus outbreak, have still not been able to realise that at this moment it is not a privilege anymore to get access to luxuries out in the open.

Many of them have been bombarding officials of the Union Territory asking for curfew exemption for reasons such as allowing a pass to a vendor making fresh fruit juice, taking dogs out for a stroll, allowing their barber to come to their residence or passes for salon workers to come home and evening walks at the Sukhna Lake.

The Chandigarh administration had imposed a curfew in the UT starting midnight of March 24. It was imposed keeping in view the spread of the virus as many had been infected and the number of cases shot up to seven. It was stated that curfew passes would be given only to those performing emergency duty or in extreme urgency. But many VIPs took it otherwise.

Officers said people are not understanding the gravity of the situation. "I am getting requests that mother takes only fresh fruit juice from one vendor and for that curfew pass be allowed. Then there are many who are seeking a pass for morning and evening walk at Sukhna Lake," a senior administration official said.

UT Adviser Manoj Parida said there could be nothing worse in a time of crisis than seeking a pass for a barber to get a haircut at home. "Also, they want passes to take their dogs out for a stroll and allow salon women to come. It is the height of everything. They don't know what the situation is. If we are home for 21 days, we will be able to save not only our life but others as well," the official added.

Finding too many requests for trivial reasons, Parida had to tweet, "Please don't make undue requests for passes to me. Test of efficiency of Chandigarh administration is not how much convenience we have provided to people during the curfew, but how many deaths or new cases we prevented. Now, citizens may be angry with us. Later, they will thank us for strictness."

UT Administrator V-P Singh Badnore presided over a review meeting through a video conference with all the senior officials of Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali. He expressed his happiness and congratulated adviser Parida and his team on having ensured that there has been no further increase in the positive cases in Chandigarh.

Heads of all the three medical institutions - PGIMER director, GMCH-32 director and DHS, Chandigarh - too attended the meeting. The PGIMER director thanked the Chandigarh Administration for providing complete cooperation in the movement of medical and paramedical staff, ration supplies to hospitals and necessary security arrangements on their campus. All the three heads assured the Adminsitrator that there is no shortage of beds, medicines, protective gears for treating the patients.

Badnore expressed satisfaction about streamlining the distribution of milk and newspapers in the city. Further, he directed the MC Commissioner to ensure that all areas get adequate stock of essential items on time. It was also decided in the meeting to distribute and sell packets of 21 days' ration on the periphery by vendors through the available government vehicles. The NGOs/RWAs and other charitable institutions which want to distribute free items can deposit the same with the deputy commissioner, who in turn will arrange its distribution through government agencies. No private person will be allowed to physically distribute any item among the public.