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Serving citizens, women & residents before, during & after Lockdown under the tenure of CEO Sonal Goel IAS

Publised on : 30-07-2020
Author: Vanita Akhaury

On July 27, 2020 team GMCBL bid a fond adieu to Smt. Sonal Goel IAS who relinquished the charge of CEO GMCBL & Addl. CEO GMDA.

She served as CEO for only about six months out of which the whole of April, May and June went by in Lockdown and GMCBL service was suspended except for a few buses assisting the District Administration in serving the needs of the residents. Let us go down the memory lane to acknowledge and appreciate the good work that emerged in the Covid-19 pandemic.     

Smt. Sonal Goel IAS took charge as the CEO of GMCBL on January 3, 2020. In the three months’ period of her taking charge as CEO prior to Lockdown began, she took several noteworthy initiatives for women. Eight seats were reserved for women on each Gurugaman bus under her direction, women CSAs were specially encouraged and felicitated with Certificates on International Women’s Day 2020 and sale of Smart Cards was allowed on bus to facilitate women in the week preceding International Women’s Day 2020, and she encouraged female passengers by riding on Gurugaman Women Special service from Huda City Centre to Gurugram Railway Station. 

During Lockdown period (March 23, 2020 to June 2020) special initiatives were taken by the CEO to fight COVID-19 pandemic to serve the citizens of Gurugram. The CEO realising great possibilities can happen through public transport led unique initiatives each day during Lockdown to serve the community. From repurposing buses as new mobile grocery stores to distribute essential ration, grocery items and fruits and vegetables to residents, to helping the Gurugram Police by providing intra city transportation to migrant workers, to buses transporting medical teams to Civil Hospital and moving patients to and from hospitals after quarantine, from the bus transforming as Sample Collection bus for COVID-19 testing moving in three designated areas in Gurugram to facilitate people, to Gurugaman buses helping in the Vande Bharat Mission by transporting repatriates arriving at IGI airport and moving them to different quarantine locations in Gurugram, GMCBL helped the frontline workers during the national health crisis under her direction.

In addition, the CEO helped the needy in Gurugram by distributing over 200 packets of dry ration to slum dwellers and also distributed over 1500 sanitation kits with the help of concessionaires among slum dwellers to promote safety and hygiene practices to keep them safe from Covid-19.

She helped the Haryana Govt during the hour of crisis by donating her one month’s salary and encouraging the entire GMCBL employees and associated partners to contribute to Haryana Corona Relief Fund, thus contributing around Rs Ten lakh and 33 thousand as donation sum. 

She saw to it that disinfection of buses and pasting of health awareness posters for travellers on Gurugaman bus was carried on before during and after lockdown for providing safe travel environment to commuters and the Gurugaman bus crew. She personally interacted with customers and reviewed market places and obtained citizens’ feedback to improvise operations during lockdown and inspected Home Shelters and Relief Camps for the needy.

From time to time, she made special appeals to citizens, ‘Stay at Home & Stay Safe’ appeal was done through a video message and she took to twitter and social media to often appeal to residents to ride on Gurugaman bus. She reached out to the larger sections of the society through the medium of TV, Community Radio, Print, online portals, Webinars and the social media to talk about the assistance available to citizens during Covid-19 lockdown.

Special campaign activities were carried through under her guidance on Mother’s Day to engage the community on social media during lockdown. 

As Addl. CEO GMDA she looked after the administration and monitored the Smart City project and did IT coordination highlighting the aspects of the Integrated Command & Control Sector in Gurugram, the GMDA App that citizens could use to make passes for movement, the Covid HR Heal portal, onemap gurugram https://onemapggm.gmda.gov.in/, Covid HR dashboard, among others available for citizens during lockdown.

She was given the charge of supervision of Govt. Health facilities for Bed & Ventilator Management in June 2020 and administering her additional role as the Nodal Officer to monitor the health infrastructure facilities in Gurugram, she visited many hospitals and was in touch with medical teams and conducted Virtual Conference meets to suggest inputs for improvisation such as increase of beds for Covid patients and helping in making the health structure more robust and up-to-date.               

During the Unlock phase and partial resumption of city bus service from July 1, 2020 the CEO through special messages via social media encouraged passengers to ride on the Gurugaman bus. She herself took a ride on the Gurugaman bus from Iffco Chowk to Hero Honda to get a first-hand feedback from passengers, also spreading the message of safe rides for commuters. Acting on suggestions from commuters on social media, she got foot pedal sanitisers installed on all the buses as it was considered safe by commuters. Special advisory guidelines for passengers were prepared and pasted on the buses and at major bus stops in the interest of commuters. SOP guidelines abiding by the Covid-19 protocols laid down by the Govt were framed for Gurugaman City Bus teams to ensure safety precautions for travellers.

Under her tenure, GMCBL won the Silver SKOCH Award for Response to Covid. Smt. Sonal Goel IAS took opportunity in crisis to keep GMCBL relevant and purposeful.   

Vanita Akhaury
Public Communication Officer