Ahmedabad: Last Friday, AMC had made it clear that citizens who are yet to take the first dose of the vaccine will have no access to its amenities like pools, gyms, AMTS-BRTS buses, parks, gardens and civic centres. After the Implementation of the ‘no vaccine, no entry’ policy of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation got off to a superb start on Monday at the civic facilities across the city.
On Monday, the AMC officials were seen walking the talk. Citizens who had not taken the vaccine jab were refused entry to AMC civic centres, swimming pools and AMTS, BRTS buses. Interestingly, the corporation had set up vaccination counters at these facilities so that those who were yet to take the first jab could do so without delay.
The motive behind AMC’s diktat was to help people overcome vaccine hesitancy and expedite the inoculation drive.
At several facilities, there were citizens who had taken the first shot but did not know how to download the digital certificate through the Cowin app. The officials were seen patiently helping them download the same. There were also others who came up with excuses like ‘recently underwent surgery’ or ‘medically unfit to bypass the rule.
By the end of the day, the AMC had administered the first dose to 3,813 citizens and the second to 3,299 citizens at its AMTS bus stands. At BRTS stands, the corresponding figures were 3,568 and 2,596 respectively. As many as 300 citizens were vaccinated at the AMC office in Danapith. A senior official told Mirror that AMC was the first municipal corporation in the country to tie civic facilities with Covid-19 vaccination to expedite the inoculation process. The central government’s target was to vaccinate the entire adult population by December 31.
Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner Mukesh Kumar said, “AMC has been carrying out the vaccination campaign for over six months now. Experts have been warning about a possible third wave later this year. We have seen the havoc Covid pandemic has unleashed across the globe. We want to vaccinate and secure all residents of Ahmedabad city in these difficult and challenging times.”
Senior citizen Vinay Desai who wanted to pay his taxes at the Bodakdev civic centre struggled for 30 minutes to download his vaccination certificate before an official helped him out. “I would like to thank the AMC staff for helping me find my vaccination message and guiding me appropriately,” he said.
Sushilkumar Gupta, a Thaltej resident, visited the centre to get some documents for his neighbour but was asked to go back home and get his vaccine certificate. “I deleted both messages of successful vaccination. So, I had to go home and get it,” he said. Dhirubhai Parmar, a resident of the old city who works in a government office on SG Highway, visited the Bodakdev centre to take his first dose. The centre had arranged for both first and second doses of vaccine for the citizens. “I had undergone a kidney operation and therefore wasn’t in the position to take the vaccine then. I took the jab today,” he said.
Vadaj gym has 30% fully vaxxed, members
At Padmashri Jashubhai Patel Swimming Pool and Gym in Vadaj, an urban health centre team had begun administering vaccine shots since morning. Many visitors even took their second dose here on Monday. Pankaj Trivedi, a trainer at the gym, said, “To our pleasant surprise, more than 30 per cent members who walked in were fully vaccinated and almost 100 per cent had taken the first dose. Those who have yet not taken the first dose have been instructed to do so immediately, failing which they will not be allowed to enter our premises.”
Zero tolerance at Shivranjani bus stop
AMC had deputed BRTS staff here near the ticket counter to check the Covid certificate of passengers. In fact, the BRTS personnel themselves had their own certificates handy just in case they got questioned by citizens. Ganpatbhai Wadhwana, who had a plaster on his hand, was not allowed to board the bus despite pleading with the staff. “I met with an accident in February which resulted in a fracture on the left hand. I got operated on four times and was continuously in and out of the hospital. So, I could not take the vaccine,” he said, adding, “I need to visit my doctor in Naranpura. The staff should show some humanity.”
But the BRTS staff would hear none of it. Ganpatbhai was not allowed to board the BRTS bus and had to hire an auto-rickshaw to the clinic. The scene was no different at Nehrunagar BRTS bus stand and Lal Darwaza AMTS bus terminus. A staffer said they had strict instructions from their superiors to follow the directions, failing which they may likely face disciplinary action.