COVID-19 impact: PMC staff stops Additional Commissioner Shantanu Goyal at the airport; refuses to let him go

ST Correspondent
Saturday, 27 June 2020

Goyal was super-impressed with the alertness of the PMC staff even during the wee hours of the night.

Pune: Location: Lohagaon Airport. Time: Around 2.30 am. COVID-19 screening staff stops a passenger and insists to put a 'home quarantine' stamp on his hand. When the staff doesn't listen to his requests, he calls up the screening department head and asks him to 'rescue' him. The passenger was none other than Additional Commissioner Shantanu Goyal of Pune Municipal Commissioner (PMC). Goyal was super-impressed with the alertness of PMC staff even at the wee hours at the airport.

The PMC staff screens all passengers arriving at Lohagaon airport. The staff puts a home quarantine stamp on each passengers hand and asks them to follow the norms to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection. The staff also takes it in writing from the passengers that they will be at home during the quarantine period. But officers and employees engaged in the essential services are however exempted from the mandatory quarantine period. Hence the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), airport staff and PMC staff also follow these rules.

A few days before Goyal had to travel out of the city for some urgent official work. He returned through a flight at the Lohagaon airport on Wednesday night. It was business as usual at the airport arrival lounge. While he stood with other passengers to get screened, the PMC staff did not recognise him. When his screening was completed, the staff insisted on putting the home quarantine stamp on his hand. Goyal realised that the staff hasn't recognised him and informed them that he was the Additional Commissioner at PMC and since he comes under the essential services category he was not needed to get home quarantined. The PMC staff however still insisted that he should talk to their seniors. "If our seniors tell us, then only we can allow you to go without a stamp," the staff said.

Goyal then called up Ashok Ghorpade, the Garden Department Head of PMC who is the officer-in-charge of screening passengers at the airport. Surprised by Goyal's call in the wee hours, Ghorpade immediately called up his staff and instructed them to let Goyal go without the handstamp. Goyal then left for his home, but before leaving he appreciated the integrity of the staff and gave them a pat on their back.

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