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Coronavirus outbreak: Pune locks down barring essential services

Industries, schools, colleges, PMPML and private bus services, local trains, express train, registration offices and toll nakas have all been closed down. However, civic offices with fewer staff, banks, ATMs, medical stores, water supply department, MSEDC offices will function.

Written by MANOJ MORE | Pune | March 23, 2020 11:45:55 pm
Pune Coronavirus cases, Pune lockdown, Pune news, maharashtra news, indian express news “The lockdown was imposed following directives from the state government,” said District Collector Naval Kishore Ram. (File/Representational Image)

The Pune district administration on Monday imposed a lockdown by excluding essential services till March 31.

Industries, schools, colleges, PMPML and private bus services, local trains, express train, registration offices and toll nakas have all been closed down. However, civic offices with fewer staff, banks, ATMs, medical stores, water supply department, MSEDC offices will function.

“The lockdown was imposed following directives from the state government,” said District Collector Naval Kishore Ram.

The collector said they have sealed the district borders so that no vehicle from other districts enters Pune. “The movement of vehicles on expressways and highways in the district has been stopped except for vehicles carrying personnel providing essential services,” he said.

The PMPML will also operate buses only to carry government employees, Ram said. “Otherwise the bus service will remain shut,” he said. PMPML spokesperson Subhash Gaikwad said, “We have 13 depots. Each will operate 10 or fewer buses depending on the demand number of employees of essential services to be ferried to their destinations. Buses are not available for commuters,” he said.

The state government has also directed the police to enforce Section 144 from midnight, which prohibits gathering of five or more people, he added.

Railway spokesperson Manoj Jhanwar said express and local train services have been halted. “Local trains used to carry 95,000 commuters every day.”

Jhanwar said at least 218 express trains, passengers trains and local trains that used to arrive or leave from Pune station have been halted. “The Pune division of Central Railway has 9,000 staff. Our jurisdiction extends from Malavli to Kolhapur-Miraj. While the technical staff is working as usual, the non-technical staff is working on rotation basis,” he said.

Sandeep Belsare, president of Small Scale Industries Association, said, “There are 11,000 micro, small, medium and large industries in Pimpri-Chinchwad. The small industries have all shut down till March 31. The large industries are also likely to follow suit from tomorrow after government directives,” he said.

Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation spokesperson Anna Bodade said, “We have 8,000 employees. As per government directives, only five per cent of our staff is on duty. Employees of essential services like hospitals, water, electricity are working as usual,” he said.

Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) spokesperson Sanjay More said, “The PMC has 20,000 employees. We are also following government orders by allowing only five per cent employees to remain on duty. But employees from departments of essential services will work as usual,” he said.

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