Covid vigil at Jharkhand picnic spots
Picnickers and revellers have to face action if they don’t abide by the Covid-19 protocols during the New Year celebrations at the scenic spots in Jharkhand.
State chief secretary Sukhdev Singh has directed all the 24 deputy commissioners on Wednesday to ensure the compliance of standard operating procedures (SOPs) laid out for Covid-19 at all the popular picnic and tourist spots that are likely to witness a huge turnout during New Year celebrations.
“The chief secretary has asked all the deputy commissioners to ensure compliance of the SOPs laid out in the directive sent earlier this month at the popular picnic spots. They would have to take steps to ensure social distancing, wear masks and also see that people use hand sanitisers at those spots.
“This apart, there should be no consumption of tobacco products at the spot. The deputy commissioners would also have to ensure proper Covid-19 testing wherever they feel necessary,” principal health secretary Nitin Madan Kulkarni said.
Meanwhile, authorities in Ranchi and Jamshedpur (in East Singhbhum district) have increased vigilance at the popular tourist and picnic spots and also arranged for Covid testing facilities.
“Directive has been given to officials for random Covid test at popular spots such as Jonha, Hundru Falls, Dassam Falls and Kanke Lake. Those found without masks or not maintaining social distance will be slapped with cases under provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act,” said Ranchi deputy commissioner Chhavi Ranjan.
Even the state tourism department has pulled up its socks to ensure that Covid-19 protocols are followed at the spots maintained by them.
“Even though we have not issued any SOPs for tourists, we have installed hoardings and banners highlighting Covid-19 protocols,” said state tourism director A. Dodde.
State tourism deputy director Vidyanand Sharma Pankaj said over 1,600 paryatak mitras (appointed by tourism department on contractual basis for the maintenance of tourist spots) have been issued the necessary directives.
“They will be in constant touch with the respective local thanas and if any individual or group does not follow Covid protocols, they will first try to persuade them and if they do not relent, they will inform the local thana for necessary action,” Sharma said.
The paryatak mitras, who mainly monitor major waterfalls at tourist spots, have also been asked to ensure that visitors do not go near the danger spots.
Tourists in large numbers from Bengal, Odisha and Chhattisgarh flock to the tourist spots in Jharkhand for picnics between December-end and February.