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March 31, 2020

Workers exempted from lockdown face hurdle to movement

National

March 31, 2020

LAHORE: Big grocery stores, pharmacies and other exempted services from lockdown operating in the provincial metropolis are facing serious problems due to restriction of movement by the police, which may result in a food and medicine crisis in the city. District Administration recently received several complaints that police officials were not allowing free movement of supplies as well as manhandling workers while coming on duty or returning home.

Sources in office of Deputy Commissioner, Lahore revealed that several big grocery stores filed individual complaints to the DC Lahore that cops manhandled them. Sources said the store administrations claimed that in case this attitude continued, they would not be able to run the stores, which may result in a food crisis and panic like situation in the provincial metropolis.

Sources said Managing Director of a big grocery store chain recently wrote a letter to the DC in which he stated that as a responsible part of the society, the store was committed to provide uninterrupted and stable supply of essential food items during the lockdown phase.

“We are abiding in letter and spirit by the various notifications issued by the Punjab government pertaining to closures of business as well as lockdown of various localities. Further, our employees have been advised about and are cognizant of avoiding unnecessary travel or movement apart from their work duties, he said adding despite the fact, two of our store employees in Lahore (working at the Ravi and Canal stores) have on separate occasions not only been stopped by police on their return from official duties but have also been mistreated by the law enforcement officers which is unfortunate.

While our employees have been carrying their National Identity Cards as well as an Authority Letter confirming they are store’s employees and are strictly travelling to/from stores, these letters have on both occasions been disregarded by the police as inconsequential, he revealed and added that one of the aforesaid employees was not only kept in police custody overnight, his motorbike was still in their custody after his release.

“In view of the above, we humbly request you to kindly provide clear instructions to the relevant law enforcement officers at various checkpoints so that such unfortunate incidents are prevented from reoccurring,” he requested.

Sources said another store owner situated in different city localities also complained to the DC that cops were not allowing their employees to come to work and in case the situation prevail, they have no other option except closing down the stores.

Shaheen, an employee of a big store in Model Town, said that he lives in Shahdara and daily faces police humiliation while going to and returning from work. He said he always showed them authority letter but no one considered that.

Spokesperson for DC Office said that the DC Lahore was coordinating with all departments and police were already instructed to allow workers of all the businesses, which are exempted from movement during the lockdown.

As per the notification issued by the Punjab government, the exempted services from lockdown included utility companies such as Wasa, Municipalities, Wapda, NTDC, DISCOs and SNGPL, public and private telecom/cellular companies and their franchises with limited public dealing, call centres with no public dealing, banks (only essential staff) with limited public dealing, defence related manufacturing industries, food items manufacturing industries and distribution offices, health & related services i.e. hospitals, medical stores, laboratories, manufacturers, grocery stores, general and convenience stores, fish, meat, vegetable / fruit vendors and dairy shops, dry port operations, custom services, petrol pumps and auto-workshops, fruit, vegetable, cattle and grain markets, welfare organisations Edhi & Seylani providing essential services, media persons authorised by media houses concerned, newspaper hawkers and any other class as may be deemed essential and so declared by the government.