Updated: June 20, 2021 11:31:16 pm
Even though the Covid-19 positivity rate in the region has not come to below 5 per cent, the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has decided to permit a few more relaxations on curbs, allowing all essential and non-essential shops to operate till 7 pm and restaurants and bars to remain open till 10 pm.
The PCMC has also allowed non-essential industries to operate with 50 per cent capacity. However, industries have criticised the PCMC move barring workers from using the state-run PMPML buses.
The revised directives, issued by Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Patil, will come into effect on June 21, Monday.
The PCMC chief’s directives said weekend lockdown on Saturdays and Sundays will continue. “All shops will remain open till 7 pm. On Saturdays and Sundays, the weekend lockdown will continue with only essentials shops being allowed to remain open. Restaurants and bars will remain open with 50 per cent capacity till 10 pm,” the directives said.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Vikas Dhakane said, “The positivity rate is on the border, meaning it is 5.01 per cent. The orders will come into effect from Monday. By that time, we expect the positivity rate to come down below 5 per cent.”
PCMC officials said the decision to relax the restrictions was taken amid pressure from shopkeepers and hoteliers who were facing heavy losses. “Shopkeepers and hoteliers who run their places on rent were incurring heavy losses due to the partial closure. They were desperately pleading with us to relax the restrictions on humanitarian grounds,” said Dhakane.
However, Dhakane said the civic administration will keep a close watch on the positivity rate. “If the rate goes beyond 7-10 per cent, we will immediately bring in tighter restrictions. We will be keeping a close watch (on the situation) in view of the possibility of a third wave,” he said.
According to the new directives, non-essential industries will be allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity, besides essential industries, export-oriented and continuous-process industries.
However, the civic body’s decision to make it compulsory for non-essential industries to ensure that workers commute to work in office vehicles instead of PMPML (Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited) buses has not gone down well will industry bodies. “Not every small scale industry can afford to make special arrangement for vehicles. This decision is unacceptable,” said Sandeep Belsare, president of Pimpri-Chinchwad Small Scale Industries Association.
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