While the lockdown will be eased in several districts of the state, Pune district — especially its urban parts — will continue to remain under the current restrictions. However, some relaxation has been granted and permissions to continue with construction work, start industrial units outside city limits and agricultural works in rural areas, has been given.
As Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad remain in ‘red zones’ – areas with very high number of COVID-19 patients – there is little scope of easing restrictions both on commercial activities as well as movement of local residents, said District Collector Naval Kishore Ram. He, however, said Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad municipal commissioners can divide city areas into separate zones based on the extent of infections.
“The situation in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad will mostly remain as it is now, except we are giving permissions to resume work at construction sites, except in areas which are very sensitive. Similarly, as stated earlier, industrial units with in situ work force and agricultural activities in rural parts will be allowed,” said Ram.
On Saturday, the Maharashtra government issued revised guidelines that will come into effect from May 4 in the state, which has been divided into ‘green, orange and red zones’ depending on the number of COVID-19 cases. However, a few relaxations granted in ‘red zones’ will not apply in areas designated as ‘containment zones’ by the local authorities.
Several relaxations otherwise granted to ‘red zone’ districts in the state have not been granted in Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Mumbai and Malegaon. These include the opening of standalone shops, opening of industrial units in special economic zones (SEZs), e-commerce activities of essential goods, and opening of private and government offices.
Further orders to be issued today
After the Union Home Ministry issued orders extending the lockdown till May 17, both Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad Police are expected to issue formal orders along the same lineson Sunday. These orders will remain in force in various parts of the two urban areas from May 4 to 17.
Till Sunday midnight, a complete shutdown is in force in areas of Pune under 10 police stations, which are COVID-19 hotspots, where only the sale of medicines and time- restricted sale of milk is allowed.
In the remaining areas of under Pune Municipal Corporation jurisdiction, a conditional curfew is in force, with a relaxation window of 10 am to 2 pm. In Pimpri-Chinchwad, a curfew is currently in force till Sunday midnight, barring some areas that have been excluded from the list of containment zones.
Senior officials from Pune and Pimpri-Chichwad police commissionerates told The Indian Express that as on Saturday, deliberations were on at various levels between police, respective bodies and the district administration on deciding exact details of the restrictions that will remain in force in various areas.
Confusion about inter-district transit passes
While state government guidelines have allowed the return of stranded persons to their hometowns and villages in other states or in other districts within Maharashtra, some government officials indicated that inter-district travel within the state will not be allowed to those stranded in Pune or Mumbai.
People from other states, currently stranded in Pune and Mumbai, will be issued passes, provided the local administration in their home districts agree to accept them. However, for Maharashtra residents who want to travel back to their home districts from Pune or Mumbai, such relief won’t be granted.
District Collector Naval Kishore Ram said there was a lack of clarity on the issue and his office has sought some clarification about dealing with stranded people in Pune.
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