Friday, April 17, 2020

Limited ferry trips forces commuters to violate social distancing

DSS should increase the number of ferries between Chatham and Bambooflat

TMI Bureau
Port Blair, April 15: The A&N Administration is putting its best efforts to contain COVID-19 in these islands. Especially, the concerted efforts of the Chief Secretary combined with the coordination of various administrative secretaries and the Deputy Commissioner, South Andaman and Andaman & Nicobar Police in particular, Andaman & Nicobar Islands remains a safe place against the outbreak scare.
But, the administration require to check itself about the functioning of DSS ferries between Chatham and Bambooflat, through which the dialysis and other patients, health workers, police staff and labours and other government staffs are use to travel in boats/ vehicle ferries on daily basis to attend their entrusted duties. 
According to reliable sources, during the lockdown period DSS is arranged ferry service for staff who are on essential duty to ply between Chatham and Bambooflat, as per schedule in the morning at 7 am (vehicle ferry and boat, each), 8 am (one vehicle ferry), and at 9 am (vehicle ferry and boat, each) total 5 trips, and in the evening at 5 pm (vehicle ferry and boat, each), and last boat at 6 pm (vehicle ferry and boat, each) total 4 trips. Due to paucity of ferry boats and vehicle ferries, passengers jostle with each other to find a place on board. Amidst this rush, they forget the social distancing norms in place.
Moreover, the presence of Tally clerk and police personnel at Barricade is used to monitor the passage of commuters at Bambooflat jetty, but, the absence of same monitoring system at Chatham jetty is become a cause of concern.
Consequently, many dialysis and other patients, frontline health workers, police staff and other government staff in hundreds fears that, due to paucity of ferry boats and vehicle ferries, passengers jostle with each other to find a place on board. Amidst this rush, they forget the social distancing norms in place. It might aggravate the situation even a single passenger has any symptom of disease.
Therefore, the Directorate of Shipping may increase the number of ferry boats to Bambooflat so as to enable the commuters to follow the social distancing norms flawlessly.

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