Alleging numerous cases of protocol violation put in place to check the spread of the COVID-19 in the area, combined organisations from Dalu in West Garo Hills on Thursday demanded that the border trade with Bangladesh via Dalu port be immediately stopped until the situation limps back to normalcy.
Local bodies from the area including the Mothers’ Union, AYWO, ADE, AHAM, GSMC, PMCSU, Tribal Exporters and Importers Association, Traders Association of Dalu along with nokmas and headmen coming together under the banner of the Dalu Area Citizens Forum (DACF) dashed off a letter to Chief Minister Conrad Sangma demanding that the border trade activity is immediately put to a halt.
The organisations also alleged that the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for border trade are not being adhered to by the people involved in the activity.
“We have witnessed several times that the truckers, while stopping at several places including at petrol pumps, uncaringly roam around to buy liquor and other things without wearing a mask and not even following the social distancing protocols, which is a complete violation of the protocols. This has led to the locals living in fear of the spread of infection,” they said.
The organisations maintained that while people coming from outside had strictly maintained the guidelines of quarantine, drivers from Garo Hills, who enter Bangladesh and come back, are not adhering to the same guidelines.
“Doesn’t the same law apply to them? This is unacceptable to the locals who are taking precautions to keep themselves safe,” they said.
Citing another example of SOP violation, the organisations said that there is no medical check-up being conducted at entry and exit points.
They also opposed the use of staff from the Dalu Community Health Centre for COVID teams deployed at the Indo-Bangla border, pointing out that the CHC is understaffed.
“Instead, additional staff with two more ambulances should be provided to the CHC to meet the present need,” they said.
The organisations also alleged that due to innumerable trucks plying at the same time, huge traffic jams are frequently being witnessed in market areas.
Stating that huge traffic is also witnessed at the weighbridge of the town, the organisations have suggested that the weighbridge be instead relocated to Dalu last point where vehicles can be checked more appropriately.
Informing that the town faces a huge water crisis due to the disruption of supply pipes of the PHE during the construction of the NH-51, the organisations have also urged Conrad to look into the matter.
The organisations have also urged the chief minister to expedite the ongoing highway completion so as to enable the easy supply of essential commodities to the region.
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