New normal

Not ‘open for everyone’ now, civic body encouraging few visitors only

Residents being motivated to use online mode for payment of tax and bills

Charanjit Singh Teja

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 1

The Covid-19 outbreak has changed the functioning of the Municipal Corporation (MC) offices. Call it the new normal, these offices are no more ‘open for all’, especially for those who used to while away their time by visiting one office after another without having any important work.

Before Covid-19 outbreak, activists, local leaders, unionists, agents and residents used to sit at the municipality offices. The MC staff used to accommodate them by providing chairs inside the offices.

But now, direct entry of residents has been restricted in most of the offices. Desks have been installed to prohibit the entry to the offices. Extra chairs have been removed from offices where people used to sit for work. The staff has been asked to listen to visitors through windows to prevent the spread of virus.

Visitors are being asked about the purpose of their visit. The entry of visitors is not allowed without mask. The Fire Department is sanitising the premises regularly and sanitiser stands have been installed outside the office for sanitisation of hands.

MC officials said the number of visitors, too, has decreased due to the pandemic. Residents are being motivated to use online mode for payment of fee, tax and bills. They claimed that they have strengthened the complaint redressal system to avoid physical visit of public to MC offices. After an employee of the citizen facilitation centre was infected last month, the public dealing staff is taking all precautions, making it a point to adhere to social-distancing norm.

A large number of employees are working with rapid response teams and taking care of persons who are quarantined. Special arrangements have made for home-quarantined persons. They were provided PPE kits. The field staff is also taking all precautions recommended by the government.

Speaking out

No one is being allowed to sit inside the offices without work. Extra chairs have been removed. As soon as someone enters the complex, we ask the purpose of visit. — Sushant Bhatia, Estate officer

Earlier, the office was open and everyone could meet the computer operators to know their status of application. Now, we have restricted the entry and listen to visitors from windows. — Dharminder Singh, nodal officer for death & birth certificates

From day one, we are working as per the directions of the government. We are taking all precautions, even in the field. Challans are being issued to violators everyday. — Jatinder Mohan Sharma, Inspector

More than 4,000 sanitary workers are doing their work by adopting all safety measures. They maintain social distancing and change their routine to prevent the spread of Covid-19. — Ashu Nahar, driver and a unionist