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Lockdown 4.0 rules kick in: Scenes of open shops, crowds in non-red zones in Maharashtra

As per the new guidelines issued by the Maharashtra government earlier this week, Mumbai and 18 other municipal corporations were notified as red zones, while the rest of the state has now been tagged as a “non-red” zone where economic activity can resume in a big way.

Written by Sagar Rajput | Mumbai | Updated: May 23, 2020 10:37:26 am
maharashtra lockdown rules, maharashtra lockdown guidelines, maharashtra lockdown, maharashtra lockdown red zones, maharashtra coronavirus cases Shops open at a market in Palghar. (Photo by Deepak Joshi)

From open shops and milling crowds to easily available public transport, a semblance of normality seemed to return to various parts of Maharashtra after lockdown 4 rules kicked in from Friday.

“Logon ko fir se raste par dekh kar aisa lag raha hai ki corona chala gaya (Seeing people back on the road, it seems like coronavirus has gone),” said Sonu Rathod, a resident of Palghar town, one of hundreds who came out on the streets as the district administration did away with stringent lockdown rules in the area.

As per the new guidelines issued by the Maharashtra government earlier this week, Mumbai and 18 other municipal corporations were notified as red zones, while the rest of the state has now been tagged as a “non-red” zone where economic activity can resume in a big way.

“I opened the shop in the morning after two months and as none of the machinery was used during this period most of it has rusted,” said Rafiq Shaikh, owner of an electrical repairing shop in Palghar, as he spent most of the day setting his instruments in order in anticipation of work orders.

In Nashik district as well in areas like Vilholi, a popular sports goods chain opened its massive facility for the first time in two months. While only a handful entered the premises on the first day, the place is expecting the number of buyers to increase in the coming few days.

With relaxation in place, long queues were noticed outside liquor and tobacco shops as people stocked up liquor and cigarettes.

There was crowding at certain places by people shopping for Eid as well which falls on Monday. “I hope that I get business and the products get sold out soon so that I earn some money and am able to celebrate Eid with my family,” said Fateh Ali Panjwani, a stall owner outside Palghar railway station.

Public transport in the non-red zones was also visible with the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation resuming services. It deployed 457 buses, which operated 2,007 services across the various non-red zone districts. A total of 11,151 commuters used these intra district services on Friday.

While streets in various parts of the state were milling with people, the effects of the migrant exodus were also felt by many businesses that resumed on Friday. “I had two migrants working at my shop. Both left without informing me. On Thursday when the order was issued by the district administration, I called my employees asking them to report to the shop on Friday morning, but they instead told me that they have returned back to their states,” said Akbar Ali, who sells bags near Palghar station.

In spite of easing of rules, the district administration has been mandated to ensure that there is no overcrowding in places. On Friday a mobile store owner was fined after a large crowd converged at the shop without maintaining social distancing.

Deputy district collector Kiran Mahajan said, “They were allowed to reopen on the basis of the guidelines issued by the government. The responsibility of maintaining social distancing and ensuring that there is no further spread of the infection is given to the respective gram panchayat and municipal council.”

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