TAXILA: People did not practice social distancing while queuing outside almost all banks in Taxila to draw salaries or pension.
The government has ordered social distancing as a part of precautionary measures against Covid-19. Long queues could be seen outside the banks and people standing close to each other.
Hundreds of people start gathering outside banks in the city in the morning to withdraw their salaries and pension. Some have to return empty-handed because when their turn comes the banks close their counters for want of cash.
Women and senior citizens have not only to stand in long queues but also go through humiliation outside the banks.
A large number of pensioners including women visit banks to withdraw money in the first week of every month.
This month, they thronged the banks due to uncertainty over the Covid-19 pandemic. As majority of them are unfamiliar with digital banking they visit the banks.
A similar scene can be seen outside other financial intuitions like saving centres where senior citizens stand in long queues to withdraw their monthly profits.
However, some banks have deployed policemen to make sure that customers maintain distancing while standing in queues.
Azhar Ali, a retired government official, standing outside a bank, told Dawn that he came to withdraw his pension and had been standing in the queue for the last over one hour but the line did not move.
“I don’t know why it is taking so long. There is no order,” he said.
An elderly woman, who was standing in the queue, said she had come to withdraw her pension but had been standing in the line for over an hour.
After reports that Covid-19 safety guidelines were not being followed by people, some banks on Tuesday put up chairs with some gaps for customers waiting for their turn.
When asked why people weren’t keeping the social distancing, a bank manager, Tahira Farooqi, said everyone is in a hurry to get work done.
“People here are not following social distancing directives of the government, though everyone is scared.”
When contacted, Subdivisional Police Officer, DSP Tahir Kazmi said police were taking action against those violating Section 144 imposed by the government as a preventive measure against the pandemic.
He said special police teams haD been constituted to take action against those coming out of their houses unnecessarily. He said all banks were directed to ensure social distancing failing which action would be taken against the management of the bank concerned.
Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2020