Public transport vehicles went off the roads as Assam tightened preventive measures to fight against the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19).
The busy streets of Guwahati fell silent since March 22nd, 2020 – the day ‘Janata Curfew’ was called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a bid to break the chain of transmission of the virus.
However, the staffers of the Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) ensured that people coming from outside don’t have to face any uncertainty due to the unavailability of public transport.
A plan was chalked out and the ASTC provided transport to all those passengers who came from outside to Assam on the day of Janata Curfew and subsequently on March 23rd-24th, 2020 by train and air.
“The ASTC has provided more than 500 buses covering various airports and railway stations to provide transport to people who came from outside on March 22nd, 23rd and 24th, 2020 to avoid public inconveniences and disorder at airports and railway stations. We have received passengers of 20 trains and approximately 160 flights till the date,” ASTC MD Anand Prakash Tiwari said.
Tiwari added, “Approximately 16,000 air passengers and 12,000 train passengers arrived in Assam in the last three days. We have received them from Guwahati and provided them transport to Barak Valley, Agartala, Shillong, Karbi Anglong, Central Assam, North Assam, Upper Assam and Lower Assam.”
The official informed that at each railway station and airport, the passengers were received after proper medical check-ups and other due formalities.
“The ASTC provided bus services at Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Barpeta Road, Nalbari, Rangia, Guwahati, Kamakhya, Lumding, Jorhat, Nazir, Mariani, Sonari, Dibrugarh and Tinsukia rail stations. Similarly at each station of Northern Assam,” Tiwari further informed.
Tiwari applauded the ASTC staff members who “worked day and night to ensure zero inconveniences to the people”.
“Despite knowing that trains are coming from Maharastra, Karnataka, Kerala, Delhi etc, they took all the care and precautions and did their duty with high morale,” he said.
The last train from outside Assam will reach at 8 pm on March 24th, 2020. Around 20-25 busses will transport them to ISBT and from there the long-distance buses will leave to various parts of Assam with special permission, Tiwari said.
“We will drop roughly 1,100 passengers all over Assam tonight with special lockout permission. They will be medically tested and stamped before we start our journey. I am grateful to all the drivers and assistants who will drive the whole night to drop the passengers,” Tiwari said.
Assam government announced that the state will be under lockdown from 6 pm, March 24th, 2020 till March 31st, 2020 (midnight) in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Essential services like pharmacies, medical, water supply, banking, and petrol pumps would be exempted from the purview of the lockdown. The states borders will be sealed and vehicles carrying essential items will only be allowed to ply.