Nearly a month into the nationwide lockdown, Mumbai has been allowed a few activities from Monday, including work at infrastructure projects and weddings, only if these are outside designated containment zones and follow strict safety procedures against coronavirus.
Guidelines issued by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Sunday said other than essential services — medical and grocery stores — fisheries and related work, cable services, DTH and call centres can resume work in non-containment areas, with minimum staff.
E-commerce platforms, too, have been allowed to resume deliveries of electric appliances in the city, while restaurants allowed to function with take-away services. The civic body has also permitted marriage functions with some restrictions. The guidelines are based on the state government’s April 17 circular.
None of these activities, however, will be allowed within the containment zones — 367 areas where coronavirus positive cases have been found — marked by the BMC. Further, those allowed to resume operations also have to apply for and obtain permission passes from the BMC.
As per the guidelines, all offices and work sites that are allowed to reopen must follow safety procedures against COVID-19. Depending on the size, not more than two to four people are to be allowed to use a lift at a time. Cases under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, would be registered against people found violating the rules.
While BMC has allowed all construction projects to operate within its municipal limits in non-containment zones, it said arrangement for workers’ accommodation, food, basic hygiene and healthcare have to be ensured at the work sites. Workers have been asked to maintain social distancing and wear masks at all time at construction sites. The civic body, however, has disallowed transportation of workers from outside city limits. It will provide permits to each construction site, the guidelines said.
The circular, issued by Municipal Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi, reads: “Regarding construction activities of private projects, if construction workers are available at site and no workers are required to be brought from outside, and if the project construction in charge undertakes in writing to observe all Covid-19 related safety SOP, on satisfaction with the request and undertaking, respective Chief Engineer (Development plan) may permit construction activity.”
Meanwhile, no industrial activities have been allowed by the BMC in the red zone, which are infection hotspots. “As per directions, industries/ industrial establishments will not be allowed to operate in Mumbai limits. No worker from containment zone will be permitted to go to workplace in industries/ industrial establishments, permitted outside Mumbai,” the circular states.
A civic official said not everyone exempted would be able to resume operations from Monday. “All the essential services and other shops have to make applications for permission. After it is reviewed and approved by the respective ward office, they can begin work,” he said.
The civic body, however, has already restarted 112 works on roads, bridges and stormwater drains (including de-silting) engaging nearly 2,500 labourers. From April 9, work has also resumed on the Coastal Road, Hancock Bridge and Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road bridge. The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) has also started construction work on two projects — road repair work Kalyan Shilphatha and reconstruction work of Kalyan’s Pathari Pul.
As per the circular, construction activities on public projects, besides construction, resurfacing and repairs of potholes, sewer and storm-water drain networks, construction, repair and pre-monsoon de-silting of sewers will be allowed. All big infrastructure projects under the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) are also set to resume from Monday. “More than 10,000 workers will resume work with safety equipment,” an MMRDA spokesperson said. There area a total of 11 Metro corridors under MMRDA, work on which had stopped due to the nationwide lockdown.
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