Ferry services back
Giving relief to people, particularly those from North Guwahati, Assam’s Inland Water Transport (IWT) Department on Thursday resumed the passenger ferry services on river Brahmaputra. The services had remained suspended in the wake of the COVID pandemic and resultant lockdown. The IWT said all protocols of the pandemic, such as social distancing, wearing of face masks, sanitization etc, were being followed before each vessel sets sail. A lot of people from North Guwahati use ferries to reach their workplaces in the city.
Reviving economy through tipplers
After the Assam government had allowed the reopening of liquor shops, one joke that went viral on the social media was that it always falls on the tipplers to revive the economy when it is down but they are hardly cared for when they are down on the road after a few shots. Proving this true, the COVID-battered Assam government has increased tax on liquor by 25 per cent. Ahead of the COVID pandemic, Assam used to have liquor sales of around Rs 15-20 crore a day. Now, it is around Rs 25-30 crore a day. During the first three days after the liquor outlets reopened, they had combined sales of Rs 80 crore. The revenue earned by the state government were around Rs 30 crore in the Northeast state.
Cover your face or pay fine of Rs 500
If you do not wear a mask or cover your face with something in public in Assam, you will have to cough up with Rs 500. The government took a decision on the fine in the wake of the spike in COVID cases in the state. It authorised the police to charge the money based on The Epidemic Diseases Act. “We want people to cover their faces. If someone doesn’t have a mask, he or she can use a piece of cloth,” Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said. In some places, people without masks or cloth are not being given petrol and diesel at fuel stations.
Sathya Sai unit reaches out to COVID warriors
The Guwahati unit of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation (SSSSO) was among groups and individuals who extended their services to the COVID-19 warriors in the city. The SSSSO offered food packets to the doctors, nurses, paramedics and patients at the government-run MMC Hospital that has been turned into a COVID-19 facility, Dr. B Barooah Cancer Institute and police personnel who were on duty on the streets. The Assam Police, several NGOs and individuals had also fed the poor people and stray animals. The government had made an appeal to the people to help the needy during tough times like these.
Our correspondent in Guwahati