Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation takes lead to ensure lockdown

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In one such initiative, the AMC ensured complete control over the distribution of vegetables in slums. (Express photo by Shashi Ghosh)

The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has taken multiple initiatives to ensure that citizens continue to follow directives of the national lockdown, imposed in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping in mind “all segments of the society, while realising that some initiatives may work and some others may not,” as per municipal commissioner Vijay Nehra. Despite its efforts, the city broke its silence with a number of people venturing out and scattered vehicular movement observed in the city throughout the day.

A way to explain greater movement can be attributed to issuance of passes by the collector’s office on Thursday to allow movement of people.

In one such initiative, the AMC ensured complete control over the distribution of vegetables in slums. “We tied up with suppliers, provided our own trucks and manpower. This way, everything was in my (AMC’s) control,” said Nehra.

The 'Vegetable on Wheels' initiative, too, has seen a major scale-up in three days. Nehra explained, “We started with facilitation of 10 e-rickshaws with vegetables being sold by women self-help groups. We saw a good response and realised that an e-rickshaw is not a priority, so we decided to take up general rickshaws on a rental basis. We also involved street vendors. On the second day, we had 48 rickshaws besides the 10-15 e-rickshaws. The third day, we further scaled up to 250 rickshaws.”

In another initiative, the AMC allowed families to shop for vegetables from wholesale markets of Kalupur and Jamalpur. The AMC sanctioned the use of Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Service (AMTS) buses, allowing one representative per housing society on the bus. Stressing that the objective with each initiative was to achieve social distancing along with ensuring a continued supply chain, Nehra said, “We took people there, they selected and paid, and 8,000 kg of vegetables were brought back.”

Apart from providing facilities that keep people home, the AMC has also taken to active disincentivisation wherein anyone found to be violating their home quarantine will have not only an FIR against them, but will have to start afresh Thaker 14 days of lockdown, that too at an institutional quarantine facility.