Assam: ‘No mask, no fuel’ pump rule in Hailakandi to contain COVID-19


Hailakandi- Close on the heels of the district administration passed an order making use of masks and face cover mandatory in public places and work places amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the petrol pumps/fuel stations across the Hailakandi district of Assam too on Friday stopped issuing fuel to motorists not wearing face masks.

Petrol pumps/fuel stations with banners ‘No mask, no fuel’ too stepped in making wearing of face masks compulsory. A petrol pump in Hailakandi town even put up a banner ‘A mask is better than a ventilator’ to create awareness on the importance of using face masks to keep the novel coronavirus at bay.

“The decision has been taken in a bid to strictly enforce the administration’s order making wearing of face masks or face cover mandatory while stepping out of homes,” said an employee of a fuel station, adding that the move by the fuelling stations would help to protect both the employees and the customers from the dreaded virus.

The employees have been asked to adhere to the social distancing norm strictly in their fuel outlets.

In view of shortage of N-95 masks in the medical stores, the administration asked citizens to use either a face mask or a piece of cloth or handkerchief with multiple folds covering the nose and mouth while going out of homes.

The Hailakandi and Lala municipal boards are also distributing face masks to the sweepers to protect them from the virus.

Ekota, an NGO, is providing face masks free of cost to the frontline warriors who are susceptible to infection.

The NGO has already distributed 5,000 face masks locally procured from women SHGs at reasonable rate. Members of Ekota said their target is to distribute 10,000 face masks among various segments of the society and also the municipal boards, police and civil administrations.

Members of the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) were also seen distributing face masks at a number of places in the district headquarters.

District Coordinator, NYKS, Kalpana Ganguly said many NGOs working under the aegis of NYKS are manufacturing masks and these are being distributed among the people.

Newspaper hawkers of the district were also provided masks, gloves and ration by individuals and NGOs.

Women SHGs of Hailakandi, Panchgram and other places are also manufacturing face masks priced at Rs.25 to 30 each.

In a bid to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, the district administration brought an order on Monday to ensure the use of face masks. According to this order, those flouting this regulation will be legally penalised for not wearing masks in public.

The police swung into action on Wednesday arresting 51 persons for not wearing masks and registering six cases under five different police stations across the district.

As of Friday evening, of the total 205 swab samples sent to the Silchar Medical College and Hospital, 146 have tested negative while a 65-year-old succumbed to COVID-19 infection on April 10.

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