Gangtok, April 20: Government offices started functioning and work in select activities resumed in Sikkim on Monday during the ongoing lockdown while adhering to the consolidated revised guidelines issued by the Centre on April 15, officials said.
While the extended coronavirus-induced lockdown remains in force till May 3 next, state government offices opened with one-third of employees reporting for duty on roster basis, they said.
The state government has allowed operation of three Sikkim Nationalised Transport (SNT) buses for ferrying state government employees on duty.
It may be mentioned that Sikkim remains a COVID-19-free state.
The consolidated revised guidelines on the measures to be taken by central ministries and departments, and state and Union Territory governments were issued on April 15 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced extension of the nationwide lockdown till May 3.
The lockdown was earlier from March 25 to April 14.
Agriculture, construction, Information Technology and industrial units in the SEZs and rural areas were among some sectors where the restrictions would be lifted with safeguards from April 20 in a bid to kickstart the country’s battered economy and reduce the distress caused to millions of people, the guidelines had said.
Farming and construction activities resumed in the state with riders to the farmers to maintain social distance, while work at the construction projects have to be carried out only by local labourers, they said.
Under-construction power projects and manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and other essential goods too have been allowed to begin operations.
Goods carriers and heavy vehicles carrying construction materials plied on the roads in Sikkim after screening at Rango and Melli check posts.
The Excise department has allowed the opening of Foreign Liquor Retail (FLR) shops in Sikkim from 9am to 5 pm, except on dry days.
The licensee of the FLR shops shall be personally responsible for deploying staff to ensure maintaining of social distancing of at least 1 metre between the customers, a circular issued by the Excise department said, adding that face masks should be worn by the staff at all times.
Meat shops and wet markets have also been given relaxation during the extended phase of the lockdown.
However, inter-state travel has been restricted and private and public transport vehicles have been barred from plying.
Only transport vehicles and emergency vehicles authorised by the district administration are being allowed within the state.
All Gram Panchayat Units (GPU) in the state have been given two vehicles each, one for medical emergency and another for carrying essential commodities. (PTI)