Service seekers throng public offices after easing of lockdown



All government and non-government offices reopened today after almost three months of closure due to the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19.

After the government decision to relax the lockdown in order to reopen the offices, service seekers have started thronging public offices.The government had imposed nationwide lockdown on March 24 over the infection outbreak and decided to ease it by reopening government and non-government offices from today. The government has urged service providers and seekers to maintain social distancing and follow health security measures while receiving and delivering services.

The Supreme Court and district courts have also extended their services. “Service will be delivered keeping in mind the safety measures against coronavirus spread,” said the apex court’s Spokesperson Debendra Dhakal.

Banks, financial institutions, insurance companies and administration of educational institutions (teaching-learning activities have remained closed) have reopened. There has been a dismal number of service seekers at cooperatives.

However, branches of commercial and development banks witnessed a huge number of service seekers today.

The government has also allowed operation of transport system on odd and even number basis. Drivers and commuters have been asked to maintain social distancing and use face masks and sanitisers. Transport operators have been asked to make arrangements for commuters to use a single seat in a row.

Almost all staffers of the Teku-based Vehicle Fitness Test Centre went to the office today as it has a very small number of employees.

According to Office Chief Maniram Bhusal, 14, out of 16, reached the office today, while two are presently out of Kathmandu valley. ‘’ We have maintained physical distancing and taken other preventive measures,’’ he said.

Some employees used private vehicles, some took the help of office vehicles and those residing in nearby areas walked to the office.

As shared by Lalitpur metropolis Chief Administrative Officer Prem Prasad Bhattarai, they witnessed a minimum number of service seekers on the first day of service resumption.

The office has managed a two-shift duty schedule for its employees as per the government decision. However, work to distribute relief assistance and COVID-19 testing and other emergency services had continued during the lockdown.

The office also did its best to observe social distancing during office hours.

The National Human Rights Commission had not suspended complaint registration even during the lockdown. Only required employees were visiting the office.

But, with the government decision to ease the lockdown, all employees have been summoned for shift-wise duty hours on rotation basis.

There was a protest since 8:00am today near Singha Durbar area, the country’s chief administrative centre. Though employees were there for the first-shift duty, service seekers arrived only after 10:00am. A crowd of people could be seen at the south entrance gate of Singha Durbar. A team of health workers was there to measure the body temperature of service seekers.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on June 16, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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