Vijay C Roy
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, March 27
While the mobility of essential services providers has been challenged amid lockdown, the law enforcement agencies are equally finding it challenging to verify the authorised personnel. Concerned over the issue, the northern states such as Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have decided to digitise the curfew passes by having a tie-up with Gurugram-based startup. A QR code tech has also been added on the passes to ease the download and verification process.
Amid coronavirus outbreak and measures to control its spread, the government has implemented a 21-day lockdown across the country. Only people engaged with essential services such as medical professionals, mediapersons, those supplying food and groceries and those associated with sale of medicines are allowed to move out. They need to carry a valid curfew pass issued by the district administration for commuting.
Staqu, a Gurugram-based startup, is assisting Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana governments to ease the process of application and approval of these passes. The process involves the applicant to fill up an online form along with scanning and uploading the relevant documents such as ID proof. Upon approval by the department concerned, the applicant receives an e-pass. The applicant can get the printout or he/she can show the pass received on their phone to law enforcement agencies on demand. The police personnel can check the authenticity by scanning the QR code of the commuter through their smartphone.
Punjab launched this unique initiative on Thursday while Uttar Pradesh has unveiled this system for Noida. Later on, Uttar Pradesh may extend it to other cities also. Haryana will initially launch this service for Panchkula soon and later it may extend the same to other cities as well.
Speaking to The Tribune, Atul Rai, co-founder, Staqu said, “We hope e-curfew passes braced with QR codes will help in the mobility of essential goods and service providers and also help law enforcement agencies to check their authenticity.”
“In Punjab 15,000 people have already applied for e-passes in the past two days on the platform created by us and over 2,000 have already been granted passes. In Noida, around 1,000 people have got passes. We have made system ready for Panchkula and it can start anytime once the state government appoints functionaries and formulates guidelines,” Rai said.
Compared to other curfew passes, there is no need to take a print out. The passes are also “colour-coded” and “letter-coded” in accordance with the government guidelines to ensure easier visibility thus maintaining social distancing norms.
“These passes are integral and will assist everybody from a doctor to people who are delivering groceries at people’s doorsteps. All applications will go to district headquarters of the areas concerned rather than the head office to ensure quickness in approvals,” said Dinkar Gupta, DGP, Punjab.
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