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TURA: Alleging numerous cases of protocol violation put in place to check the spread of the Covid-19 virus in the area, combined organizations from Dalu in West Garo Hills on Thursday demanded that border trade with Bangladesh via Dalu port be immediately stopped until the situation normalizes.
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 gaonburahs coming together under the banner of the Dalu Area Citizens Forum (DACF) dashed off a letter to Chief Minister Conrad Sangma with a strong demand that the activity is immediately stopped.
According to the organizations, protocols such as Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for border trade are not being adhered to by those involved in the activity.
“We have witnessed several times, trucks stopping at several places including in petrol pumps and the drivers uncaringly roam around to buy liquor and other things without wearing mask and not even following the minimum social distance, which is a complete violation of the pandemic protocol as well of that SOP. This has led to the local people to fear of infections,” they said.
The organizations said that while the local people coming from outside had strictly maintained the set guidelines of quarantine, drivers from Garo Hills who enter Bangladesh with their cargo of stones and boulders while re-entry into the area are not following the same guidelines. “Doesn’t the same law apply to them? This is unacceptable to the local citizens who are taking precautions to keep themselves safe,” they added.
The organizations claimed that another example SOP violation is the absence of conducting medical check up at all entry and exit points. The forum also opposed the use of staff from the Dalu CHC for Covid teams at the Indo-Bangla border pointing out that the CHC, as it is, is understaffed. “Instead, additional staff with two more ambulances should be provided to the CHC to meet the present need,” they said.
Referring to the SOP with directions to limit vehicles plying on the roads at any given day, the organizations alleged that due to innumerable trucks plying at the same time huge traffic jams are frequently being witnessed in market areas especially, at the Transport Departments Weigh Bridge of the town. In order to solve traffic congestion in the main town area, the organizations suggested that the weigh bridge be relocated to Dalu last point where vehicles can be checked more appropriately.
Meanwhile, informing that the town faces a huge water crisis as supply pipes of the PHE were disrupted during the construction of the NH-51 from Tura to Dalu, the organizations urged the CM to look into the matter. The organizations also sought the speedy completion of the ongoing highway construction to enable easy supply of essential commodities to the region.