Sunday, May 17, 2020

Lockdown 4.0 guidelines | What’s allowed and what’s not?

  New Delhi, May 17: The Centre on May 17 extended the nationwide lockdown, first imposed on March 24, for the fourth time till May 31 while giving considerable flexibility to the States in deciding red, green and orange zones of COVID-19 intensity.
   Immediately after the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) announced Lockdown 4.0 to check the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued fresh guidelines to allow further resumption of economic activities.
  Here’s a list of what’s allowed and what’s not during Lockdown 4.0 between May 18 and 31. (Source: The Hindu)
  • ·    Buses, auto-rickshaws, cabs can operate; inter-State movement of vehicles to be decided by States mutually
  • ·      Metro, air and rail services remain suspended, except those allowed with special permits
  • ·     All shops, except those in malls and containment zones can open. All shops shall also have to ensure six feet distance (2 gaz ki doori) among customers and also not allow more than 5 persons at one time.
  • ·      Barber shops and salons can open
  • ·      Delivery of essential and non-essential items allowed through online shopping platforms
  • ·      Restaurants can function, but only for take-away
  • ·      Religious, political gatherings prohibited
  • ·      Weddings cannot have more than 50 guests and funerals not more than 20
  • ·    Cap on 33% strength in offices done away with, work from home to be encouraged; social distancing and staggered work hours to be followed in offices
  • ·      Wearing of masks compulsory in public places and work place
  • ·      Night curfew from 7 pm to 7 am for non-essential services to remain in force
  • ·    Vulnerable groups such as those above 65 years, pregnant women and children below 10 to remain at home
  • ·     States can decide the delineation of zones into red, green, orange and containment zones
  • ·     Schools, colleges, malls to remain shut   
  • ·    State/ UT Governments shall continue to strictly enforce the lockdown guidelines and they shall not dilute these guidelines issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, in any manner.

South Andaman District classified as Green Zone except containment zone(s); Lockdown to be continued upto May 31, 2020

  Port Blair, May 17: The Union Home Ministry on Sunday extended the lockdown for another two weeks till May 31 to contain the spread of COVID-19. In its recommendations to the Home Ministry, the Apex Disaster Management body, NDMA said that lockdown measures need to be implemented for a further period in the country to contain the spread of COVID 19. NDMA in exercise of its powers under the DM act, 2005, directs the Ministries, Departments of GOI, States governments and authorities to continue the lockdown measures upto May 31.
Accordingly, the local authority has issued an order as given below:

Port Blair, dated the 17th May, 2020
  Whereas, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in exercise of their powers under section 6(2) (i) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, vide their Orders dated 24.03.2020, 14.04.2020 and 01.05.2020 had directed the National Executive Committee (NEC) to take lockdown measures so as to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country;
   Whereas, Chairperson NEC, in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 10(2)(I) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, has issued Orders of even number on lockdown measures dated 24.03.2020, 29.03.2020, 14.04.2020, 15.04.2020 and 01.05.2020;
   Whereas, save as otherwise provided in the guidelines annexed to this Order, all Orders issued by NEC under Section 10(2) (I) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, shall cease to have effect from 18.05.2020;
  Whereas, in exercise of the powers under Section 6(2) (i) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, NDMA has issued an Order number 1-29/2020-PP dated 17.05.2020 directing the Chairperson, NEC that lockdown measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 be continued to be implemented in all parts of the Country, for a further period upto 31.05.2020;
   Whereas, under directions of the aforesaid Order of NDMA dated 17.05.2020, and in exercise of the powers, conferred under Section 10(2)(I) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the Union Home Secretary in his capacity as Chairperson, NEC, has issued directions for strict implementation, to all the Ministries/Departments of Government of India, State/Union Territory Government and State/Union Territory Authorities that lockdown measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 will continue for a period of upto 31.05.2020, as per the guidelines annexed to this Order, which will come into effect from 18.05.2020;
  Whereas, Clause (5) of the said guidelines stipulate that delineation of Red, Green and Orange Zones will be decided by the respective State and UT Governments, after taking into consideration the parameters shared by Ministry of Health 8s Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India (Gol);
   And Whereas, in the Union Territory of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, North & Middle Andaman and Nicobar District had already been classified as Green Zone by MoHFW vide DO dated 15.4.2020 and shall continue as such under the new annexed guidelines;
   And Whereas, the entire South Andaman District is hereby classified as Green Zone in South Andaman District based on the parameters shared by MoHFW except the containment zone(s) as is / may be notified by District Magistrate South Andaman from time to time;
   Now therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 24 (1) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the undersigned in his capacity as Chairperson, Union Territory Disaster Management Executive Committee, for the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands hereby orders that the guidelines on the measures to be taken by Ministries / Departments of Government of India, State/UT Governments and State/UT Authorities for containment of COVID-19 in the country upto 31.05.2020 issued by MHA dated 17.05.2020 shall be applicable to the whole of A & N Islands.
Chetan B. Sanghi
Chief Secretary
(F.No. CS/Sr.PS/05/2020)”

Thursday, May 14, 2020

DSS commences transportation of Stranded Personnel

All stranded personnel will be required to pay for the travel / ship ticket as per promulgated rates

Port Blair, May 14: In the last few day, the Directorate of Shipping services carried out registration of stranded personnel who wish to be transported To and From A&N Islands. As of today, a total of 3846 personnel have registered to be transported out of Andaman Islands and 3125 no of personnel have registered to be transported from Mainland to A&N Islands.
Whilst sailing schedules from Andaman to Chennai and vice versa were tentatively planned on 06.05.2020, the A&N Administration had also taken up the matter seeking approval of competent authority for transportation of stranded personnel by Air. However, as approval of the competent authority for Air Travel is still awaited, the DSS has therefore now also proposed to transport passengers by ship.
In the meantime the Government of Tamil Nadu has intimated that due resurgence of COVID-19 cases at Chennai, and their quarantine facilities not being ready, they are not in a position to accept any incoming passengers at Chennai for the time being, till the quarantine facilities are in place. Following these constraints, the sailing to and from Chennai cannot be planned immediately, until the consent of the Tamil Nadu Government is received. Therefore in the initial phase the sailing to and from Kolkata sector will be planned.
Due to the ongoing restrictions and requirements to comply with the norms of social distancing, the ships of the Directorate will be able to carry only 50% of its capacity i.e 600 passengers each. Further, the protocol as suggested by MHA will be strictly followed for screening and transportation of stranded personnel. All incoming passengers would also are require to undergo mandatory quarantine as per protocol. All stranded personnel will be required to pay for the travel / ship ticket as per promulgated rates.
The firm dates of the sailing will be announced at least three Days in advance and priority shall be accorded to the patients, students and other personnel in distress, registered with the Directorate. All sailings will be subject to weather conditions en-route.
As and when Chennai and Vizag sectors are ready to commence operations from their respective ports, sailing shall also be schedules to these ports depending on the list of registered personnel and availability of ships.
With regard to the Inter Island movement of stranded personnel, it is intimated that as of 14th May 2020, a total 2211 passenger have already been transported between various islands and regular sailing are being planned by the DSS, depending on the request  received from various District Administrations, a communication from Dy. Director, DSS said here today.

MP requests MoHFW to resume ANISHI Scheme for Islanders

Port Blair, May 14: Shri Kuldeep Rai Sharma, Member of Parliament, A&N Islands has taken up the matter with the Hon’ble Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of India, New Delhi regarding continuation of ANISHI scheme upto 31st December, 2020 for cashless treatment upto Rs.5 lakhs for the Islanders.
Mr. Sharma has stated that in Andaman & Nicobar Islands, only one Government Hospital namely GB Pant Hospital is available for treatment of general diseases and in case of serious diseases such as Cancer, Cardiac, Neuro, Brain Tumour, Accidentals cases etc, such patients are referring to Super Specialty Hospitals at Chennai and Kolkata under a scheme introduced by the A&N Administration namely “Andaman & Nicobar Islands Scheme for Health Insurance (ANISHI) for cashless treatment upto Rs.5 lakhs (Five lakhs) per patient since 2015. Now the aforesaid scheme of ANISHI has been closed with effect from 31st March, 2020 on introduction of Ayushman Bharat Scheme.
In this regard he further informed that many hospitals earmarked for treatment under Ayushman Bharat Scheme at Chennai and Kolkata have already been pre-occupied for the treatment of COVID-19 pandemic, hence it would be difficult for our Islanders to get treatment in the hospitals under Ayushman Bharat scheme for emergency serious medical treatment other than in the Super Specialty Hospitals which were empanelled under ANISHI scheme upto 31.03.2020.
Therefore, in order to safeguard the health care of the Islanders, he requested the Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare to consider for continuation of operation of Andaman & Nicobar Islands Scheme for Health Insurance (ANISHI) for the Islanders till 31st December, 2020 for getting treatment at empanelled Hospitals at Chennai and Kolkata under ANISHI scheme.

Finance Minister announces major stimulus package for MSMEs

New Delhi, May 13: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday announced Rs.3 lakh crore collateral free loan scheme for businesses, especially micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), as part of a Rs.20-lakh-crore economic stimulus package to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
For salaried workers and taxpayers, some relief was provided in the form of an extended deadline for income tax returns for financial year 2019-20, with the due date now pushed to November 30, 2020. The rates of tax deduction at source (TDS) and tax collection at source (TCS) have been cut by 25% for the next year, while statutory provident fund (PF) payments have been reduced from 12% to 10% for both employers and employees for the next three months.
NBFCs get attention
Apart from MSMEs, other stressed business sectors which got attention were non-banking finance companies (NBFCs), power distribution companies, contractors and the real estate industry.
This is the first tranche of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday as a Rs.20 lakh crore economic package. That package includes the ongoing Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, meant to support the poorest and most vulnerable communities during the pandemic, as well as several measures taken by the Reserve Bank of India to improve liquidity. More tranches are expected in the next few days.
Ms. Sitharaman side-stepped queries on the actual cash outgo for the government, as well as how the Centre intends to raise the needed funds.
Ernst and Young's chief policy advisor D.K. Srivastava estimated that the measures announced on Wednesday amounted to Rs.5.94 lakh crore, which include both liquidity financing measures and credit guarantees, although the direct fiscal cost to the government in the current financial year may only be Rs.16,500 crore.
MSMEs will get the bulk of the funding. The Rs.3 lakh crore emergency credit line will ensure that 45 lakh units will have access to working capital to resume business activity and safeguard jobs, Ms. Sitharaman said. For two lakh MSMEs which are stressed or considered non-performing assets, the Centre will facilitate provision of Rs.20,000 crore as subordinate debt. A Rs.50,000 crore equity infusion is also planned, through an MSME fund of funds with a corpus of Rs.10,000 crore.
The definition of an MSME is being expanded to allow for higher investment limits and the introduction of turnover-based criteria. In a bid to fulfill the Prime Minister's vision of a self-reliant or "atmanirbhar" India, global tenders will not be allowed for government procurement up to Rs.200 crore.

Inclement weather condition, power supply may be disturbed

Port Blair, May 13: In view of inclement weather conditions, repeatedly transmission faults are occurring and resulting in heavy disturbances in power supply. The Electricity staffs are working round the clock to resume the supply after rectifying the defects. The major faults noticed are entangling of High Tension & Low Tension Lines. The consumers are requested to bear with us, as we are trying our best to restore the power supply and to provide our best service to the public. 
The Electricity Department requests the consumers to inform to the nearest site office if they observe flash, abnormal sound in the Electric System so that the technical team can reach and solve the problem. The falling and snapping of line could be dangerous, hence the citizens are requested that on sighting of such happenings inform the nearest Site Offices, Police Stations, Fire Brigade so that safety measures can be taken. They are also requested not to touch or come near the snapped lines and also not to allow other people and cattle etc. to come near the snapped lines.
The consumers/general public can also inform the aforesaid situation over phone to the respective Junior Engineers/Assistant Engineers/Executive Engineers of the areas or Electricity Control Room Telephone No. 03192-235250, for immediate attention and quick action, a communication from the Electricity Department said here. 

Consumers advised to be vigilant and inform Dept. of CS&CA, if any unfair noticed

Port Blair, May 13: The Department of Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs is relentlessly enforcing various provisions of the Rules & Regulations framed under the Essential Commodities Act 1955, the Legal Metrology Act, 2009. In its exercise resulted in nabbing those persons/ shops/ establishments involved in any form of unfair trade practices and the violators were booked under relevant sections of the Act. Penal actions as per laid down procedures are taken in a time bound manner to act as a deterrent and so far an amount of Rs. 2,43,000/-  has been imposed on them as penalty during the Lockdown period in South Andaman. 
Apart from the above, dedicated Control Rooms are functional in all District Headquarters wherein numerous complaints were received out of which 95% of cases were redressed in 24 hrs. Further, this Department imposed capping on the price of all Essential Commodities including perishable items such as Vegetables & Fruits with adequate publicity, which is regulated in true spirit resulting in effective control of the market price.
All the proactive action taken by this Department has sensitised the consumers of this UT of their rights as the consumers have become very vigilant by promptly reporting any kind of unfair trade practices noticed by them.
The consumers are advised to be vigilant and inform the matter related to overcharging of any Essential Commodity to the notice of the Director, Directorate of Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs, Port Blair via text message only on mobile number 9434266828 or to the Control Room over Toll free Phone No. 18003453197 & on Ph No: 03192-234062, a communication from the Director (CS&CA) said.

Vocal about local, but no snub to globalization

New Delhi, May 13: There are at least four discernible strands in Prime Minister Modi's speech of Tuesday
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech on May 12 sought to outline his vision for India in a post-coronavirus world order. It was a reiteration of his worldview and his faith in India's Manifest Destiny, seeking validation in the crisis of the old order.
Mr. Modi's pro-market supporters and his Left critics both understood him as an ally of global capitalism in 2014. Stephen Bannon, the ideologue of the Trump uprising in the U.S., termed Mr. Modi's politics as anti-globalism - a point that he reiterated in a recent interview to an Indian channel. There are at least four discernible strands in Mr. Modi's speech.
First, import substitution, an objective that drove nationalist economic policies in the 20th century, is back. Profit-driven globalisation had brought to the fore multiple insecurities of countries already when the pandemic struck, and it multiplied these fears manifold overnight. The biggest superpower's struggles with procuring enough masks and paracetamol, for instance, has exposed its vulnerabilities. Self-reliance is suddenly not a bad idea again. Mr. Modi's policies had already reflected this thinking earlier, but the new context has given him the courage to be "vocal about local". In a crisis, only the local capacities can be useful.
Second, this is not a rejection of globalisation, but a call for a new form of globalisation. Mr. Modi said, from profit-driven to people-centric. He believes that India is the repository of such a wisdom, it's the "Vishwa Guru", teacher of the world. "The global brands of today were sometimes also very local like this….they became global from (being) local." He elaborated further on India-led globalisation - on climate, on being helpful to other countries by offering them supplies in a time of crisis, led by the principle of "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam".
Third, the manner in which he brought China into the picture, without naming it. India's self-reliance can only be at the cost of China. The current crisis could work to China's advantage further if it is business as usual. His speech obliquely questioned the Chinese grip over global supply chains, and was an invitation to western partners such as the U.S. for closer partnerships. Whether he could continue with his hyper-nationalist policies while actively being allied with the West is an open question.
Fourth, his notion of reforms for self-reliance, not for globalisation. The word reform is an ambiguous one but widely used as a code for pro-capital measures. In 2016, in his keynote speech at 41st AGM of U.S. India Business Council (USIBC), in Washington DC, he explained his views on "reforms". "I have said several times that my aim is to reform to transform. For me, reforms are those policies that transform the lives of ordinary citizens. In the last two years, we have taken a comprehensive package of reforms which go beyond mere economic reforms," he said, adding that "policies to ensure that growth benefits the poor and the weaker sections" and "a frontal attack on corruption", were reforms. On the same lines, on Tuesday, he counted as a reform, the government's ability to make cash payments to the poorest. "Bold reforms to create a self-reliant India," he said, will now be "broadened, giving a new height". His list of reforms overlaps substantially with the demands of owners of capital - rational tax system, simple and clear rules-of-law, good infrastructure, etc. But the slant clearly is state support for the national capitalists. Read with the emphasis on local companies going global, it becomes clearer. Trade liberalisation is unlikely; in fact, there could be more protectionist measures.
Additionally, his speech narrows the gap between the government and the rest of the Sangh Parivar. "Small scale industries, farmers and labourers are the three pillars of the Indian economy. The emphasis of the PM's speech was on these three," said Saji Narayanan, president of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS). The BMS has been scathingly critical of the changes in labour laws made by the Bharatiya Janata Party governments in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh in recent days, but Mr. Narayanan does not expect anything similar coming from the Centre. "There are still advisors within the government who have different views, and we will wait for the details in new announcements. But the political vision in the PM's speech is very encouraging," he said. The Swadeshi segments within the Parivar are buoyant.
But this is not an easy act to pull off. India has severe limitations in capital, technology and human resources. Balancing the interests of capital and labour is not easy. But as a political statement, this could not have been clearer or stronger, though his vocal, free-market interpreters are unlikely to make Mr. Modi's case this time. (The Hindu)

PBMC initiatives amid COVID-19

Port Blair, May 13: To prevent the outbreak of COVID-19 in Port Blair City, PBMC has been taking the following initiatives with active participation of elected representatives. To acknowledge the great efforts of Sanitation Workers, Smti S.Selvi, Councillor, Ward No. 05, PBMC distributed essential commodities  viz. dry Ration items in Ward No. 05.  PBMC has been arranging breakfast / Lunch across various Wards in collaboration with Civil Society Organization. Breakfast was distributed in Ward No 13, Ward No. 17 and Ward No.18. Lunch was arranged for the Sanitary Mazdoors by Mr L.Moorthy, Nominated Councillor, in Ward No.4 and by Smti Anusia Devi, Councillor at Ward No 9.
Every year before the onset of Monsoon, PBMC carries out a Major drain desilting works to prevent flooding. As a part this exercise desilting work near Marine Hall, Mohanpura Market, Bus Stand, Main Office of PBMC and near Delanipur School were taken-up by PBMC on 07/05/2020. On 12/05/2020, an inspection was carried out by Chairperson, Secretary and Officials of the Council at the Brichgunj Check Dam located in the Quarry area. PBMC has taken-up the restoration works and raw water will be drawn from the source for treatment and further distribution to households. 
On 09/05/2020, another 318 Tons of water was transported from Rutland through Barge. As on date, a total of 2949 tons of water has been transported from Hutbay and Rutland Island through vessels and Barge. Self Help Groups constituted under the DAY - NULM got an order from the Andaman Chamber of Commerce & Industries (ACCI) to prepare 5570 face masks. It is worth mentioning that the stitching activity was completed within a 10 days of time. Further PBMC has awarded another contract to make 5000 face masks to the SHG.

Low pressure area develops in Bay of Bengal, likely to turn into cyclone by May 16

Port Blair, May 13: A Low-Pressure Area has formed over southeast Bay of Bengal and adjoining south Andaman Sea, in the morning of today, the 13th May 2020.and very likely to concentrate into a Depression over central parts of south Bay of Bengal on 15th and further intensify into a Cyclonic Storm over southwest and adjoining west-central Bay of Bengal by 16th evening. It is very likely to move northwestwards initially till 17th May and then re-curve north-northeastwards.
In association with the above system, the conditions will become favourable for advance of southwest monsoon over south Bay of Bengal, Andaman Sea and Andaman & Nicobar Islands around 16th May 2020.
Under its influence, the following adverse weather is likely over south & central Bay of Bengal and adjoining Andaman Sea from 15th May onwards.
Wind warning
* Squally winds, speed reaching 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph is likely to prevail over south and adjoining central Bay of Bengal on 15th May 2020, 55-65 kmph gusting to 75 kmph over the same region on 16th May. Wind speed is likely to increase further becoming Gale force winds speed reaching 65-75 kmph gusting to 85 kmph over southwest and adjoining westcentral Bay of Bengal from the evening of 16th May. Squally winds, speed reaching 45-55 kmph are likely to prevail over Andaman Sea on 15th & 16th May.
FISHERMAN WARNING: Due to formation of low pressure area over Southeast Bay of Bengal and adjoining South  Andaman Sea and likely intensification of the system, the fishermen are advised not to venture into South and Central Bay of Bengal from 15th May 2020. Those who are out at sea over these regions are advised to return to coast by tomorrow.IMD KOLKATA.For further enquiries / information contact helpline of State Emergency Operation Centre at Helpline No. 1077 & District Emergency Operation Centre at Helpline No. 1070.
INPUTS from Indian Coast Guard Andaman and Nicobar Region,
The Coast Guard Stations at various locations in A & N Region, in coordination with local fisheries authorities, are sensitizing the fishing community on persisting rough seas/inclement weather at sea and urging the fishermen to refrain from moving out to sea till 18 May 20. The Coast Guard vessels on deployment are sensitizing fishermen at sea and guiding them to return harbour. All Coast Guard authorities have intimated that they have alerted their ships and establishments in A & N to maintain highest state of preparedness to meet any contingency.
For any emergency/assistance at sea, call Coast Guard SAR Agency at Toll Free number 1554. The general public is advised to take precautionary measures and in case of any emergency contact in the following phone numbers of State Control Room, District Control Room and Emergency Operation Centres.
State Control Room:  03192- 238880 (Tele-Fax), 1077(Helpline), District Control Room: 03192-238881, 1070(Helpline), EOC (Campbell Bay): 03193-264020, EOC (Kamorta): 03193-263222, EOC (N&M): 03192-262960, EOC (Hut Bay): 03192-284014, EOC (Car Nicobar): 03193-265241, EOC (Swaraj Dweep): 03192-282030, EOC (Ferrargunj): 03192-266527, a communication from DO, State Control Room said here.

07 apprehended poachers tested, COVID-19 found negative in them

TMI Correspondent
Car Nicobar, May 13: 07 Myanmarese were apprehended from the forests of Kakana village on 24/04/2020, soon after, the 07 Myanmarese were put under Institutional quarantine for 14 days in a govt. guest house in Kamorta with police surveillance. Later, their blood samples were collected and sent to ICMR, Dollygunj, Port Blair recently, which is today as per reports, COVID-19 test reports of all them were found negative. The Deputy Commissioner, Car Nicobar informed that, all of them will be sent to Port Blair from Kamorta for legal process.

Citizens' Corner 14/05/2020

* People at ANIIDCO Wine shops are struggling under Sunny and Rainy days, but bravely facing any climate through lengthy queues whatsoever before them to get two 750 ml bottles. Even a professional drunkard can't do that much struggle to get two bottles of whiskey every day. But, men behind the men in queues are succeeding in storing the stock of liquor to sell at high rates and grabbing the opportunity to run their illegal sale in 'Gumties'. Surprisingly, liquor business is emerging as a successful business even amid COVID-19 pandemic and Lockdown period too.

* On the other side, crime rate is tend to increase after opening of Liquor shops in city, which may go for a tough challenge for the police to tackles. Of course, the economy of the govt. will hike but should also focus on other challenges before it. One can observe, numbers of COVID-19 positive cases are seen increased only after opening of Liquor shops and domestic violence reports also increased at many places in India.

* ANIIDCO should also need to initiate Door Delivery system to serve Liquor bottles to people's door steps, to avoid violation of physical distancing norm, which is always seen happening in the queues and controlling by A&N Police 24x7 near Liquor outlets in the A&N Islands.

* Admin. through many tweets informed that sufficient sanitizers, marks and gloves are available in A&N Islands. On the other side, some frontline workers including media persons are not been issued any such materials to protect themselves from the Coronavirus in the A&N Islands.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Guidelines for restarting manufacturing industries after lockdown

Port Blair, May 10: In early response to COVID-19, nationwide lockdown was ordered with effect from 25th March. As the lockdown is being gradually released in some zones, certain economic activities are being permitted as per NDMA and MHA orders dated 1st May, 2020.  Due to several weeks of lockdown and the closure of industrial units during the lockdown period, it is possible that some of the operators might not have followed the established SOP. As a result, some of the manufacturing facilities, pipelines, valves, etc. may have residual chemicals, which may pose risk. The same is true for the storage facilities with hazardous chemicals and flammable materials.
      National Disaster Management Authority has issued (1) Guidelines on Chemical Disasters, 2007 (2) Guidelines on Management of Chemical (Terrorism) Disasters, 2009 and (3) Strengthening of Safety and Security For Transportation of POL Tankers,2010, which are relevant for chemical industries. The Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, 1989 under Environment Protection Act, 1086 provide the statutory requirements for these industries.
      When Lockout / Tagout procedures are not in place, many energy sources can prove to be hazardous to operators/supervisors who are servicing or maintaining electrical, mechanical or chemical equipment. When heavy machinery and equipment are not maintained periodically, they can become dangerous for the operators/engineers.
      Combustible liquids, contained gaseous substances, open wires, conveyor belts and automated vehicles make manufacturing facilities a high-risk environment. Improper enforcement of safety codes and improperly labelled chemicals can further pose serious health hazards.
      When an unexpected event occurs, managing rapid response becomes challenging. In order to minimise the risk and to encourage a successful restart of the industrial units, the following guidelines are being issued. State Governments shall also ensure that the off-site disaster management plan of the respective Major Accidental Hazard (MAH) units are up to date and preparedness to implement them is high. It is also advised that all the responsible officers of the district shall ensure the Industrial On-Site Disaster Management Plans are also in place and cover Standard Operating Procedures for safe re-starting of the industries during & after COVID 19 lock down.
Generic guidelines:
·        While restarting the unit, consider the first week as the trial or test run period; ensure all safety protocols; and not try to achieve high production targets.
·        To minimize the risk it is important that employees who work on specific equipment are sensitized and made aware of the need to identify abnormalities like strange sounds or smell, exposed wires, vibrations, leaks, smoke, abnormal wobbling, irregular grinding or other potentially hazardous signs which indicate the need for an immediate maintenance or if required shutdown.
·        Especially during the Covid-19 times, ensure all lockout and tagout procedures are in place on a daily basis (not applicable for units running 24hrs).
·        Inspection of all equipment as per the safety protocols during the restart phase.
·        In case the industry has any difficulty in managing crucial backward linkages that may be critical for their safe functioning, they should approach the local district administration for specific assistance. District Magistrates may be instructed to ensure that in such instances, the industrial unit may be facilitated to run their end to end operations, in the overall interests of industrial security.
For specific industrial processes:
Ø Storage of raw material.
·        Inspect the storage facilities for any signs of spills, wear and tear during the lockdown.
·        Check for already opened storage vessels/containers/bags/silos for possible oxidation/chemical reaction/ rusting/ rotting etc.
·        HAZMAT Chemicals in the storage need to be checked for chemical stability before using for any processes.
·        Ensure ventilation and proper lighting before entering the storage areas.
·        Sense for abnormalities like strange sounds or smell, exposed wires, leaks and smoke.
·        Check supply pipelines/valves/conveyor belts for any signs of damage/wear & tear.
·        Check the storage building for any signs of distress and damage to the roof.
Ø  Manufacturing Processes
·        Carry out a complete Safety Audit of the entire unit before taking up starting activities.
·        Cleaning of pipelines, equipment and discharge lines: Mechanical cleaning followed by air /water flushing and chemical cleaning based on the type of the process equipment.
·        Run-in of rotatory equipment under supervision.
·        Boilers/ furnaces/ heat exchangers to be checked for lining and signs of wear and tear.
·        Check supply pipelines/valves/conveyor belts for any residual material and wear and tear. Also check all the pipelines / valves for obstructions/ pressure levels.
·        Ensure all pressure, temperature gauges are functional.
·        Tightness test: Many process units handle combustibles or toxic substances (or both), the leakage of which could result in disaster, damage, or economic loss. To prevent the occurrence of such incidents, it is necessary to confirm that the plant complies with the required tightness before start-up.
·        Service test need to be performed for all water, compressed air, and steam piping and equipment with normal operating fluids. The system is first pressurized with operating fluids and then checked for leakage. For air lines, leaks can be found using soap solution. For water and condensate lines, the leakage can be observed visually. Leakage points found during the test are retightened. The test is deemed successful if no foam is observed from soap solution, or if no water or condensate is observed visually.
·        Vacuum hold test: All vacuum systems must be leak tested. Air inside the system is first evacuated to attain the required vacuum. The best way is to start at one end of the section and work through to the other end, checking flanges, valves, fittings, instruments, and other equipment. Each leak is tagged, making it easy for the maintenance team and personnel of the next shift to continue with the work.
·        Trial testing be carried out before the full-fledged production is initiated with full human resources.
·        Ensure the arrangement for round-the-clock emergency crews/ professional technical teams provided with MAH and cluster of MAH should have an extended coverage of 200 km to reach transport accident spots for help.
Ø  Storage of products
·        Check the storage facilities / silos for any damage or wear and tear.
Ø  Guidelines for the workers
1. Ensure 24 -hour sanitisation of the factory premises.
a. Factories need to maintain a sanitisation routine every two-three hours especially in the common areas that include lunch rooms and common tables which will have to be wiped clean with disinfectants after every single use.
b. For accommodation, sanitisation needs to be performed regularly to ensure worker safety and reduce spread of contamination.
2. Entrance health checks
a. Temperature checks of all employees to be done twice a day.
b. Workers showing symptoms should not report to work.
3. Provisions of hand sanitisers and mask to all employers.
a. Providing gloves, masks and hand sanitisers to be done at all factories and manufacturing units.
4. COVID 19 health and prevention staff education
a. Education on safety steps to take from entry to exit in the factory.
b. Measures to take precautions at personal level.
5. Quarantine measures for supply and storage of goods
a. Sterilise boxes and wrapping brought into factory premises.
b. Isolate and sanitise finished goods as appropriate.
c. Delivery of goods in shifts.
6. Physical distancing measures.
a. Create physical barriers to ensure the physical distance within the work floor and dining facilities.
b. Provide face protection shields along with masks and PPEs.
7. Working in shifts
a. Factories that work 24 hours at full production capacity should consider one hour gap between shifts, except factories/plants requiring continuous operations.
b. Managerial and administrative staff should work one shift at 33 per cent capacity as per MHA guidelines; but while deciding which particular person to be included in 33% at any given point of time, overriding priority should be given to personnel dealing with safety.
c. Ensure no sharing of tools or workstations to the extent possible. Provide additional sets of tools if needed.
8. Scenario plan on discovering a positive case
a. Factories have to prepare accommodation to isolate workers, if needed.
b. HR has to help manage the whole process for individual, all travelling employees also to undergo a mandatory14-day quarantine
9. Presence of skilled workers
Workers involved in dealing with hazardous material must be skilled and experienced in the field. No compromise on deployment of such workers should be permitted when an industrial unit is opened up.

Water scarcity hits the islanders hard; Administration struggles to provide water once in 5 days

TMI Correspondent
Port Blair, May 6: The acute scarcity of water has already started affecting Port Blair city and the South Andaman District. With the dam water being all time low, Port Blair Municipal Council had already curtailed the water supply to once in four days. Within few days after the curtailment, further curtailment was done by the Council restricting the supply for once in five days that too for mere 15 minutes, without announcing it in public. At some places it is seen supplying water through PBMC tankers also which forces people to wander for water with buckets and drums amid COVID-19. 
Since then the situation has started worsening and water is being collected from inter-islands in boats or ships and by using tankers pour into water tanks to supply to the general public. Some islanders says, 'at least through this experience, the administration may realize that the need of the hour is water in the South Andaman and works related to water projects could also complete timely in the spirit'.
With the predicted low pressure over Bay of Bengal not attracting sufficient showers in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, the situation seems to be worsening. Last minute rush to clean up existing wells inside Port Blair city is being noticed now and the Andaman Administration seems puzzled on how to address the issue.
Few years ago the height of the Dhanikhari Dam was increased to five meters and it was announced then that the water scarcity in the islands has been resolved for the next 25 years. Sadly the islanders knew well that the announcement was only to console as no concrete plans were ever made and executed timely.
The project of transporting water from Rut Land Island to Dhanikhari Dam through undersea pipeline was half done and the RO plants to convert salt water to sweet water which was donated and installed after the tsunami of 2004 was never maintained.
There were also few sensible proposals by the Member of Parliament, Shri Kuldeep Rai Sharma to execute the Flat Bay project and other such proposals, but it was never heard by the concerned authorities.
In the absence of executing proper and timely remedial measures by the Andaman Administration, people of Andaman Islands now wait for the monsoon showers, which has been the only relief since ages for the islanders. 

Citizens' Corner 07/08/2020

* Chanakya says, 'However, difficult may be the tasks, proper effort endowed with suitable device can always accomplish it. A ruler should be use six devices (like Sama, Dama Danda Bheda, Upeksha and indrajal) to accomplish tasks as the case may be. In personality also one has to first ascertain about the means of accomplishment and then start doing it'. Will our ruler apply these devices on those, who are behind the failure tasks of crores worth?

* Govt. has opened some outlets ANIIDCO wine shop to generate its economy. But citizens related to business are struggling to generate their economy, because of the lengthy process i.e. one need to go GB Pant Hospital by walk from wherever and whatever far their house may be to get health certificate, after screening and doctor's certification on medical slip at GB Pant Hospital. Finally, at Tehsildar office issued Movement Permit to the owners of various business establishments in city. Is there no other way to make ease to business people to resume their economy, instead of harassment?

* The guidelines issued by authority are changing every other day. We are getting updates through the available electronic media AIR, and plans for the next day accordingly. But, when we visit to concern office to follow, we are being forced to run pillar to post to get whatever work to be done. Of course the DC is doing well with the motto to prevent gathering of people, but last minute changes are causing inconvenient to the people.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Sambhu Murthy – A youth and frontline worker, contribution for a better society

 Sambhu Murthy donates Blood

Half month salary contributed to LG's Relief Fund 

Team of Yuva Bharat Samaj Seva Charitable Trust

Port Blair, May 06: During the pandemic of COVID19, many social workers were rendered their service towards poor and needy people in Andaman Islands. But a youth, apart from working as frontline worker in A&N Police, he along with his local team have helped about 100 families in city.
A youth of Junglighat, Fisheries Colony, Shri Sambhu Murthy, Police Constable-2794 is always stands in frontline to help the needy people. Since many years he is also being organized various competitions for young children of his colony and support them in all fields. He and his team also help patients, who are in need of blood and he saves life during emergencies from past many years. He alone has donated blood a 35 times. In addition, he also gives donation to ‘Save the Children’ on monthly basis and to ‘Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund’ always. Within the A&N Police Department too, received a class-II commendation certificate, recognising his excellent work in imparting Un-Armed Combat & Self Defence classes for girl students in GSSS Hut Bay.
With Mr. Sambhu’s support, some young members of the Fisheries Colony have also formed an NGO namely ‘Yuva Bharat Samaj Seva Charitable Trust’, and implemented national scheme Swatch Bharat Abhiyan at Dairy Farm, Junglighat and Hut Bay. Recently, during the COVID-19, apart from his regular frontline duty, he along with his team of ‘Yuva Bharat Samaj Seva Charitable Trust’ have distributed essential items to approx 100 needy families at Dairy Farm, Junglighat, Aberdeen Bazaar and various corners in city, and moreover his half month salary i.e. Rs.21,835/- contributed to LG’s Relief Fund on April 30, 2020. 

Preparing essential items packets for free distribution to needies during COVID-19

Essential items packets preparing for free distribution during COVID-19

Sunday, May 3, 2020

An update on Transportation of Stranded Personnel

Port Blair, May 03: The Directorate of Shipping Services had commenced registration of stranded personnel both at Port Blair and ADSS office Chennai and all personnel who have registered for transportation either from Port Blair or Chennai are being planned for travel by Ship shortly.  The first sailing from either side i.e from Port Blair and Chennai is likely to be on 06th May 2020.
Based on the total numbers of registered personnel and availability of ships, the voyages are being planned by the DSS and the details will be intimated to each passenger through SMS. On intimation about the travel date and time, the passengers will be required to embark the ship accordingly. Arrangements are also being made by the DSS to fetch the registered passengers from other Islands / North & Middle District’s either by road or inter island ships,  prior to sailing for Chennai. Similar arrangements are also being made at Chennai for incoming passengers travelling to Port Blair in coordination with other states. It is intimated that the Government of India and State Governments are also facilitating movement of stranded personnel through special trains and bus service on Mainland and this facility will be used as required for transportation to and from Chennai.
Since due to the social distancing norms stipulated by the Govt. of India, ships will be operating with only 50% capacity (approx 500-600 pax per sailing), and more than one sailings shall be scheduled soon  to complete transportation of all passengers. In this regard, the DSS will prioritise the travel schedules, based on the order of registration and the logistics required for fetching the personnel either to Port Blair or Chennai. Each registered passenger is therefore requested to wait for his/her turn and intimation through SMS. Due to large numbers involved, individual acknowledgments of registration are not being given by DSS, however, all those who have forwarded their details through SMS as publicised have been registered for travel.
The registration process for the first sailing has been completed on 02nd May 2020. Registration for the other stranded passengers, if any, will again be taken up by DSS both for Chennai and Kolkata sectors with effect from 0900 Hrs on Tuesday the 05th May 2020. In this regard the elected representatives are also being consulted and their inputs being appropriately taken into account for movement of the stranded personnel.
Meanwhile the DSS has also commenced transportation of Inter Island stranded personnel based on the requests being received from the respective District Administrations with effect from 04th May 2020. For Inter Island travel, stranded personnel are requested to continue to approach their respective District / Local Administration to help schedule their transportation.
It is, however intimated that, the above arrangements are only for transportation of stranded personnel on ONE WAY , ONE TIME BASIS and the restrictions imposed by the GOI for normal travel during the ongoing lockdown will strictly remain in force, a communication from Director Shipping Services, A&N Admn. said here.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Containment operations in Zone 1 scaled down; MHA guidelines issued in A&N Islands accordingly

Port Blair, May 02: As per the new guidelines issued by Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India, for extending the nationwide lockdown further for two weeks from 4th May, 2020, consequential orders have been issued adopting the same in the A&N Islands. 
    In terms of the new guidelines, all districts have been categorized into Red, Orange and Green Zones by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The districts of North and Middle Andaman and Nicobar fall under Green zone while South Andaman district falls under Red Zone. Accordingly, the Chief Secretary has issued orders that in the Green Zone districts and four Islands of Shaheed Dweep, Swaraj Dweep, Little Andaman and Rutland (since no positive case has been reported in these 4 Islands) all activities will be permitted from 4th of May, 2020 onwards except the activities prohibited nationwide in the new guidelines. This includes operation of education institutes, hospitality services, cinema halls, shopping malls, gymnasium and sports complexes. Gatherings of any nature be it social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural or religious will be prohibited and religious places will continue to remain closed. The plying of buses and operation of bus depots shall be at 50% capacity.
    The South Andaman District, being a Red Zone, has 4 Containment Zones- Zone 1 - Atlanta Point, Dignabad, Round Basti, Sisty Nagar and Mohanpura; Zone 2 - Biggi Line; Zone 3 – Bambooflat, Wimberlygunj, Stewardgunj, Kanyapuram, Nayapuram, Hope Town, Shore Point, Mannarghat; Zone 4 – Teylarabad (Part), Calicut. These areas will have strict perimeter control and intensive surveillance. However since more than 21 days have passed from the last reported positive case in Zone 1, containment operations here are scaled down and shops selling essentials / fair price shops are allowed to open.
   In areas other than containment zones activities such as operation of taxies, buses, barbershops, spas and salons are not permitted; industrial, construction activities and standalone shops / neighbourhood shops / shops in markets selling essential goods operations are permitted in the urban areas and all shops in rural areas. All other activities will be permitted which include MNREGA works, agriculture and allied activities, animal husbandry, all health services including AYUSH, fishing, banking & financial sectors, operation of homes & anganwadies, public utilities etc. Movement passes issued for permitted activities will continue to remain valid till the 17th of May, 2020
    However, orders have been issued in all three districts under Section 144 of CrPC restricting movements from 7 pm to 7 am and of elderly people (more than 65 years), pregnant women, people with co-morbid illnesses and children below age of 10 years.
    Movement of people in public places will be strictly subject to wearing of face cover, ensuring social distancing and limiting the gathering in marriages to a maximum of 50 people and for last rites a maximum of 20 people. Consumption of liquor, pan, tobacco, gutka in public places or spitting in public places is strictly prohibited. All work places will also abide by the above directives and also ensure frequent sanitization and good hygiene practices. Any violation of these guidelines will attract penal provisions as per the Disaster Management Act, a communication said.