Angul: In its fight against coronavirus, Angul district administration has started swab testing businessmen in the town including those on footpaths. That said, the drive seems doomed to fail as some businessmen are avoiding getting tested.
Angul district has been reporting hundred plus fresh cases every day for the last several days. District Collector Siddharth Shankar Swain has been conducting meetings with officials and asking them to take various measures to stop the spread of the disease.
Many, however, continue to disobey guidelines issued by the district administration. This practice among some businessmen can well be understood if one observes the traders doing business on the stretch between Sanjibani Market and Laxmi Bazaar Market here.
The collector had issued a guideline that COVID-19 test of businessmen will be carried out Wednesday. Accordingly, the direction was implemented last Wednesday. On the first day, 150 swabs were collected and of them, 18 businessmen tested positive for COVID-19. The next day, 167 samples were collected and 25 businessmen tested positive.
While there are over one thousand businessmen doing business on this stretch, only 317 turning up for COVID tests have led to discontent among locals.
“The low testing indicates that some businessmen avoided the test willingly. One thing was noticed Wednesday and Thursday that several shops were closed in the first half of the day. But the same shops were seen open in the second half,” a local man said.
After 43 businessmen and their employees tested positive for the virus, the Angul municipality had sealed a total of 71 shops for a week. The civic body officials were seen putting official seals on both sides of the shutters of the shops whose owners or employees had tested positive.
“At a time when people are in a state of panic, some businessmen are so concerned about their own self that they have little remorse for putting many lives at risk. The administration is bringing in measures for the betterment of the people but such offending businessmen are putting spoke in its wheel,” another man said.
When contacted, Angul Municipality executive officer Binod Chandra Panda said no leniency would be shown to these habitual offending businessmen.
“Another day will be fixed soon for their swab collection. On that day, the shopkeepers and their employees of the shops found open will be first verified whether they have been tested or not. For those who are found out to have skipped the last two occasions, the test will be mandatory,” he said while adding that the administration is mulling action against those willfully skipping COVID-19 test.