Goa Ministers struggle with new VIP fetish for curfew passes

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Panaji, March 25 | Curfew passes, which empower the holder to step out of home during the lockdown, have emerged as the new status symbol in Goa in the time of COVID-19.

Apart from monitoring their respective departments, largely via phone or email, Ministers in Goa are busying fending off queries from home-trapped elite and movers-and-shakers, about how to obtain curfew passes which could help them circumvent the ongoing curfew and step out onto Goa’s open and empty streets.

“The curfew pass has become a VIP fashion. People would normally request us for special passes to the ISL (Indian Super League) or VIP passes to important musical or political events. But, ever since the curfew pass system was announced by the Chief Minister, everyone seems obsessed with getting that pass,” a cabinet minister told IANS on condition of anonymity.

On Tuesday, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had announced that in view of the curfew until April 15, curfew passes would be issued only to those involved in providing essential services like nominated employees of the state Public Works Department, Electricity department, sanitation workers, etc., to ensure that repair and maintenance work related to these services was not hampered.

The passes were also to be handed out to key government officials as well as select media persons.

Apart from fending off eager queries about the passes, Ministers like Nilesh Cabral, who handles the Power Ministry portfolio, are adapting to the use of phones and email to tackle department exigencies and passing on instructions to the staff due to the restricted movement plea by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Power is an essential service, so I am speaking to my officials on the phone. Any breakage or urgent issue is attended to by the department without the minister’s on-paper approval. Instructions are given verbally. The approvals will be post facto,” Cabral said.

The Minister said that in view of the curfew, power consumption in the state had fallen by 50 per cent, but added that he was “available on phone and via email for any issue, either related to his crucial department or to his constituency.”

As Cabinet Minister for Civil Supplies, a key department in the ongoing COVID-19 related public emergency, Govind Gaude also has his hands full.

“I am in communication and my department is functioning even on Saturdays and Sundays. It is a crucial time and I am heading a ministry which has to ensure that minimum requirement of essential goods like food grains, sugar, oil reaches the people,” Gaude said.

For now, Gaude is on the phone, handling queries from the department as well as from aspiring volunteers, following a call by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, who has sought help from volunteers among the general public in order to deliver essential commodities to those who are in need.

Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar said that the ministers had been briefed by Health Minister Vishwajit Rane, who has urged them to isolate themselves from crowds and groups of people as much as possible.

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant also said that his offices were “operational 24×7” and he along with his staff were handling the office landlines to tackle any bottlenecks.

Source: IANS

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Covid-19 Lockdown : Greenwood High International School comes forward to help the needy

Covid-19 Lockdown : Greenwood High International School comes forward to help the needy

Bangalore, April 02, 2020 : The nationwide lockdown to combat Coronavirus outbreak in the country has led to severe difficulties for the poor and homeless people. In an effort to help the needy, Greenwood High International School, has come forward to do their bit to the cause. The school have undertaken the initiative to prepare food for 300 underprivileged families every day and distribute  in and around Sarjapur area with the help of Sarjapur police station. This would be a continuous support from the school authority towards the needy people until the lockdown ends. While distributing the food, the school authority also followed the social distancing norms and ensured that necessary precautionary measures like masks and gloves were used in the entire process to provide clean and hygienic food to the people.

Speaking on this initiative, Ms. Niru Agarwal, Trustee, Greenwood High said: “As much as we believe in inculcating the values of benevolence and philanthropy among our students, we practise these ourselves too. Greenwood High has always been compassionate to help those in need and we continue to do so. We are mindful of contributing to the society in multiple ways and are proud to leverage our sources towards such an important cause. Several NGOs, individuals and businesses are pitching in to help the citizens and government through various initiatives with the hope that humanity would survive these dreadful times of coronavirus onslaught. We believe that only by active collaboration between all the members of the society, we will be able to overcome the impact of this pandemic.”

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