Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: With a clear objective to prevent the novel coronavirus from growing into an epidemic in Odisha, the State government on Monday decided to impose lockdown in 9 more districts taking the total to 14.

In order to make the lockdown really meaningful, the State government today took many major decisions. The inter-state bus movements will be suspended from 11 AM tomorrow (Tuesday). Besides, the city bus services in all the ULBs (urban local bodies) shall remain suspended from midnight tonight until further orders.

Addressing the daily Covid-19 briefing today, Subroto Bagchi, State govt's chief spokesperson, put out in detail the State government's road map to lock-in the transmission of novel coronavirus.

He said, ”Odisha govt has a very clear roadmap. Our number one priority is to prevent the novel coronavirus from acquiring an epidemic form in State. Also, our endeavour is to augment the capacity to deal Covid-19 exigencies outside the domain of health centres. Besides, the govt will not allow any adverse impact on the goods and services movement in the State".

In another major policy decision, Odisha govt has today decided to close all its over 72,000 Anganwadi  Centres (AWC) operational across the State till April 30.

Simultaneously, the govt has also taken a decision to go for home delivery of ration under the Supplementary Nutrition Programme (SNP) to the over 47.8 lakh beneficiaries in the State.

Taking into account the experiences of the first day of lockdown in a working day today, State government has decided to invoke section 2 of the Indian Epidemic Act 1897 to regulate the crowd on roads.

"Odisha govt under section 2 of the Epidemic Act 1897 has made it mandatory for all the central govt institutions like banks, insurance companies and others non-essential offices to function with only 10 per cent of their staff capacity till further orders," Bagchi informed and added that suitable authorities in the respective offices/institutions have to issue passes to such employees attending office.

On the same lines, Odisha govt has waived the physical attendance of staffs in all its non - critical departments until further orders. Delineating the details regarding office attendance, Bagchi said critical State govt departments will work with 50 per cent staff and partially critical departments with only 10 per cent staff.

Adopting a zero-tolerance policy towards violation of home-quarantine protocol in the State, Bagchi informed that a form having a special format will be pasted at the house of a person in-home quarantine. The govt has also directed to file an FIR under Sec 188, 271 of IPC against a returnee from Uzbek in Sambapur for violating home quarantine protocol of the State government.