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Friday, May 29, 2020

West Bengal: Chief Secy-led panel to decide easing curbs today

Senior officials, however, made it clear that complete lockdown would continue in red-zone districts. A district is categorised as a red zone if there are substantial numbers of active cases. The other criteria are the rate at which confirmed cases are doubling, and surveillance feedback.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata | Published: May 4, 2020 5:29:08 am
coronavirus, coronavirus in kolkata, kolkata lockdown, kolkata lockdown relaxation, indian express news The task force will also have to take a call on reopening liquor shops since they are a major revenue source. (Representational Photo)

A task force led by state Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha on Monday will decide which shops and industries will be allowed to open in green and orange zones.

According to sources in the state secretariat, the panel will take a call after going through the Centre’s guidelines, some of which have been modified and may be changed further.

Senior officials, however, made it clear that complete lockdown would continue in red-zone districts. A district is categorised as a red zone if there are substantial numbers of active cases. The other criteria are the rate at which confirmed cases are doubling, and surveillance feedback.

Only grocery shops, markets, sweet shops, and pharmacies will be allowed to remain open in such districts, and the usual restrictions will apply.

Comparatively more relaxations will be allowed in orange zones — areas with no recent surge in positive cases — and green zones, or districts with no cases in 21 days.

“The task force deciding lockdown relaxations, led by the Chief Secretary, will meet on Monday. After that the committee will decide, following the Centre’s guidelines, which shops, services and industries will be allowed to open in green zones as well as orange zones. Accordingly, they may issue an order on Monday,” said a senior state secretariat official.

On Friday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said shopping malls, hawkers’ corners and market complexes would not be allowed to open in areas eligible for fewer restrictions. “We will only allow standalone shops,” she added.

With the Centre advising against restarting passenger bus services, the government is thinking about continuing the ban. Banerjee had earlier said private buses could be allowed to run in green zones, provided they do not carry more than 20 passengers.

The Chief Minister has said her administration will allow taxis to operate if they transport only three passengers at a time. The limit on passengers will also apply to auto rickshaws.

The task force will also have to take a call on reopening liquor shops since they are a major revenue source.

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