Covid-10 Lockdown: Delhi introduces Colour-Coded E-Passes for Essential Services

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The Delhi district administration on Thursday introduced a colour-coding mechanism to streamline the process of issuing electronic passes (e-passes) for those working to provide essential services in the national capital.

On Wednesday, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced issuing e-passes to ensure the smooth movement of people providing essential services in the wake of the a 21-day nationwide lockdown (announced on Tuesday) to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) epidemic.

“Last [Wednesday] night it was decided that colour-coded passes will be issued based on the category of essential services an individual is catering to. The colour-coding system is being introduced to ensure proper monitoring and record keeping. It will also be convenient for enforcement agencies such as the police, as they will be able to identify such persons and vehicles easily,“ said Tanvi Garg, district magistrate, New Delhi.

As per the new system, those involved in manufacturing, storage, and transportation of essential items such as masks, sanitisers and milk, etc. will be issued blue-colour passes. Delivery persons and related services will get orange passes, while those engaged in groceries will be given green passes. Yellow is for retailers, pink for doctors, nurses and other health workers, red for chemists and pharmacists and purple is for miscellaneous categories such as the media.

Revenue officials said the main objective behind the introduction of the e-passes was to observe social distancing. “On the first day of the lockdown, all the DCP offices had reported a mad scramble for curfew e-passes. The new system will ensure that there is no need to physically visit any government office. Every pass also has a unique ID, which will help us and the police in conducting random checks to ensure that there is no misuse,” a senior revenue official said.

CM Kejriwal has released a dedicated helpline number ‘1031’ for those who require the e-pass. Later, the Delhi government also released a WhatsApp number, 9873743727, for the same purpose. A total of 525 e-pass applications were received, out of which 299 were cleared till Wednesday.

Kejriwal had said the e-pass system was being introduced for those who are providing essential services but do not have a formal ID card to back their claims. “Only those engaged with such services without an ID should apply for such passes. Others should refrain from calling on the helpline,” he said.

He also clarified that people do not need e-passes to buy from grocery shops located in their neighbourhood.

“It is our responsibility to ensure that all shops selling essential items remain open. We assure you that the supplies of commodities of your daily needs will not dry up. Do not resort to panic buying, as it will defeat the purpose of the lockdown,” Kejriwal appealed as five fresh Covid-19 positive cases were reported in Delhi between Tuesday and Wednesday, with the total cases reaching 35 in the national capital.

For anyone in the national Capital facing harassment by the police or other enforcement officers during the lockdown period, Kejriwal also announced another helpline number 011-23469526, which he said is the control room being monitored directly by the Delhi Police commissioner, SN Shrivastava.

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