Updated: March 16, 2021 9:33:19 pm
With rising Covid-19 cases, the Gujarat government has announced curfew in four metropolitan cities — Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat and Rajkot — from 10 pm to 6 am from Wednesday. As the state saw a surge with 954 cases reported on Tuesday, Surat municipal corporation reported highest numbers at 263 followed by Ahmedabad Municipal corporation at 241 cases, Vadodara and Rajkot far behind at 92 and 80 cases respectively.
As per the new guidelines, shops, restaurants, eateries, malls and other such public places will be not allowed to function after 10 pm from March 17, and this will be in place till March 31. However, chemist shops, milk kiosks, hospitals and other essential services will continue. Rail and air passengers with valid tickets will be allowed to commute.
The SMC announced additional curbs with its decision to close down all municipal gardens, and city bus services to six areas that reported a surge and routes connecting schools and colleges. Textile markets will also close business two hours early, at 7 pm instead of 9 pm and stay closed on Saturdays. Of the total cases in the SMC limits 70 were reported from the textile market.
Surat Municipal commissioner B N Pani, met members of the Federation of Surat Textile Traders Association (FOSTTA), and shop keepers at the Millenium market on Ring Road on Tuesday appealing to exercise caution. FOSTTA assured to reduce business hours and to stay closed on Saturdays as advised by Pani. Pani had further advised the textile traders and their association body that if any businessman visited from a neighbouring state, it would be the duty of the shop owner or market association to get the visitor tested for Covid-19 and only then allow him or her to enter the market. Here it is to be noted that SMC had opened 7 testing centres in different textile trading markets in Surat city. Apart from this from Wednesday onwards, SMC had also opened a vaccination centre at J J AC market on ring road where elderly above 60 years will be vaccinated.
Here it is to be noted that there are 170 textile trading markets in Surat city which has 65000 textile trading shops where the fabric is packed and sold and exported to different parts of the country. There are over lakhs of people working in different shops in the textile markets.
FOSTTA president Manoj Agrawal said, “Municipal commissioner B N Pani had appealed to keep the market closed on Saturday. We had carried out meeting with the FOSTTA members and shop keepers and they told us that if the markets will remain shut on Saturday and Sunday is official holiday, then entire work load will come on Monday and it would be difficult. We have reduced the working hours and shops will be closed from 7.00 pm onwards. We are also waiting till Saturday and if the situation gets under control, then we will request Municipal commissioner to allow us to keep the market open on Saturday.”
He further added, “The regular use of sanitizer and mask, Social distancing had not been followed, so we have requested to all the shop keepers to follow the guidelines of the COVID and if not followed then situation will be more dangerous and we have to keep entire markets shut. We have spread information to the security of all the markets not to allow anybody without mask into the textile markets.”
Pani had on Tuesday decided to shut down the City bus and BRTS bus services to Rander Athwa, Piplod, Vesu, Adajan, Textile markets, and buses connecting to the schools and colleges, from Tuesday onwards till further intimation. Here it is to be noted that 60 BRTS buses and 240 city buses ply on these routes. However in other areas the buses will run as per their timings and routes. Apart from this decision has been taken to close all the municipal gardens in the city, to prevent gathering of humans at one place.
SMC commissioner B N PAni said, “Since last few days, we have seen rise in the covid positive cases, so we have started taking steps of curtailing the bus services, and closing all the municipal gardens. We have also carried out meeting with FOSTTA and requested them to strict follow the COvid guidelines and also ensure that those businessman coming from other states should be tested first and then allowed to enter into the market.”
Till Tuesday, the four cities had the curfew from midnight till 6 am.
A statement issued from the information department of state government on Tuesday stated, “Due to rising Covid cases in Gujarat, the state government has decided to implement night curfew from 10 pm to 6 am from March 17 to March 31. Till March 16, the old curfew timing of 12 am-6 am will continue.”
On Monday evening, Gujarat recorded 890 new Covid cases across the state with one death in Surat. The total count of currently active cases stands at 4,717 with 56 of them on ventilators.
On Monday night, the Gujarat Cricket Association also announced that the remaining three T20 cricket matches between India and England at Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera of Ahmedabad will be held without audience. The decision was taken after massive crowd presence was registered during the first two matches on March 12 and March 14.
(with inputs from ENS)
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