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Devbrat Patnaik

Bhubaneswar: The State Finance Department on Tuesday issued an advisory for all the banks operating in Odisha asking them to implement various guidelines to prevent the spread of the infectious coronavirus (COVID-19) disease.

Through the State Level Bankers' Committee (SLBC) Convenor, the regulator directed the Controlling Heads of the Banks operating in the State to ensure that their respective banks follow the norms and sanitise the ATM counters everyday with the help of the security guards for containment of the novel Coronavirus.

Also Read: Coronavirus Pandemic Needs Collective Action: Odisha Governor

"Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) volunteers will inspect the ATM counters and report any violation in this direction, which will be viewed seriously. The ATMs should also be kept open with sufficient cash to avoid rush in the bank counters" the department said.

The detailed advisory for banks is as follows:

  • Put up Coronavirus awareness posters and banners prominently in bank branches and ATMs.
  • All staff members should use masks during office hours.
  • Keep sufficient hand sanitizers/ hand wash soaps in the washrooms.
  • Advise the staff members to clean hands using hand sanitizer/ hand wash soaps at regular intervals.
  • Keep hand sanitizer in the ATMs and advise customers to use it after every transaction.
  • Avoid crowding in the branches. Open more counters. Allow customers inside branches in small batches.
  • Allow customers to enter ATMs one by one and never allow more than one at a time.
  • Send bulk SMS to customers on Coronavirus awareness and advising not to visit branches/ ATMs except in urgency and to use mobile banking and internet banking services.
  • Notify the customers dedicated phone numbers for any transaction queries instead of visiting the branches personally.
  • Banking Correspondents should be advised to use masks and carry hand sanitizer with them. In rural areas where hand sanitizers are not available they can use other disinfectants like Dettol, Savlon etc for cleaning hands.

The positive news so far is Odisha government's COVID-19 spokesperson Subroto Bagchi while addressing a presser today informed that out of 47 samples, 46 have tested negative and the condition of the lone person tested positive is stable.

Local Markets To Shut By 6 PM Everyday

Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has put partial restriction on running of various local markets in the capital city Bhubaneswar in the wake of Coronavirus outbreak. The markets will now function from 6 am to 6 pm till March 31, an order of the BMC stated.

BMC observed that major markets under its jurisdiction get packed with uncontrollable crowd, which is in contrast to the SOPs for daily markets/Haats and also varies with the social distancing protocol issued by the Government of Odisha.

To contain the possibility of spread of the COVID-19 due to large congregation in the market place, the Civic body has ordered that Unit-I daily market/Haat, Unit-II market, Saheed Nagar daily market, Ruchika daily market, Old town daily market, Indradhanu daily market and Damana Haat shall function from 6 am to 6 pm with effect from March 19.

Also Read: Coronavirus Rumour-Mongers Arrested In Odisha

Zonal Deputy Commissioners may assess the position of other daily, weekly markets, haats apart from the aforementioned six prominent markets and submit a proposal for similar order. The SOP communicated for daily market, haats earlier is to be followed scrupulously, said BMC.

All OPSC Exams Postponed

In another major development, Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC) has postponed all its exams for an indefinite period for the welfare and safety of candidates amid the corona crisis.

Railway Platform Ticket Price Hiked

Following a collective decision of the zonal railways, the platform ticket price has been temporarily increased from Rs 10 to Rs 50 to minimise the footfall at the railway stations. After Western Railway and other zones, East Coast Railway too issued a notification stating that entry to stations is being discouraged by temporarily increasing the price of platform tickets to Rs 50.

While Visakhapatnam station under ECoR has already implemented the enhanced rates, others in the list are Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Vizianagaram, Puri, Srikakulam Road, Bhadrak, Rayagada, Berhampur and Sambalpur.

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