Business activities, movement of people resume in Odisha’s green, orange zones

Bhubaneswar: Business activities and movement of people resumed mainly in green and orange zones of Odisha as the state government considerably relaxed the lockdown curbs on Monday.

The situation remained largely unchanged in the “red zones” where roads were deserted look.

Sixteen districts are classified as “green zones”, while 11 are categorised as “orange zones”, and three districts and areas under the jurisdiction of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation are declared “red zones”.

The relaxations will not be applicable in the containment zones in rural and urban areas, according to an order issued by the Odisha government.

In Cuttack, a green zone, roads and streets were virtually empty till Sunday. However, many shops selling both essential and non-essential commodities opened on Monday.

Many vehicles, including four-wheelers, two-wheelers and auto-rickshaws were plying on the streets of the city, while several people chose to move around on bicycles.

“We are strictly adhering to the guidelines laid down by the government to ensure social distancing. We are not entertaining people without masks. Customers are being asked to use sanitiser kept outside the shop,” a shopkeeper in Dolamundai area of the city said.

“I am happy that the shop has opened after more than a month. However, we will have to remain alert in view of the deadly novel coronavirus,” said Byomakesh, another trader in Chauliaganj area.

Cuttack Municipal Corporation Commissioner Ananya Das said street vendors may also be allowed to do business but they will have to maintain social distancing and hygiene.

Similar scenes were witnessed in the seaside pilgrim town of Puri, another green zone, where roads were agog with activities and increased traffic.

The state government allowed all industrial activities in rural areas. In urban areas, industrial activities are permitted only in the orange and green zones.

It also permitted reopening of factories manufacturing medicines, jute, IT hardware and packaging material in the red zones with staggered shifts and employees maintaining social distancing.

However, entrepreneurs are finding it difficult to resume operations due to manpower crunch.

“All our workers have left for their native places because of the lockdown. Now we are making efforts to bring them back,” said S Banerjee, the owner of a packaging unit in Mancheswar industrial estate in Bhubaneswar.

All construction activities are allowed in rural areas and in orange and green zones in urban areas. Construction activities on a limited scale are permitted in urban areas falling under red zones.

However, the contractors too are facing a shortage of labour. “It is difficult to get labourers. It will take some time as most of the labourers have gone back to their villages,” said Sanatan Sahu, a civil contractor.

While inter-state and intra-state bus services will remain suspended during the lockdown period, the state government allowed plying of auto-rickshaws and cycle- rickshaws in the orange and green zones.

Taxis and mobile application-based cab services are permitted in green zones with limited passengers. In red zones, cab aggregators can ferry only medical personnel.

Barber shops, spas and saloons are allowed in orange and green zones.

Similarly, e-commerce activities of all goods can be undertaken in orange and green zones. In red zones, e-commerce activities are allowed only for essential goods, the government order said.

According to the order, all standalone shops, neighbourhood shops and those in residential complexes selling essential and non-essential commodities are allowed in urban areas if they maintain social distance.

In rural areas, all shops except malls are allowed to open.

Private offices are allowed to operate with 33 per cent staff in red zones while in orange and green zones, they can run with full strength.

The state government is preparing a standard operating procedure for liquor outlets, an official said.

A total of 163 novel coronavirus cases have been reported in the state. Sixty people have been cured of COVID-19 and 102 are still afflicted with the disease. One person died of the disease on April 6.


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