April 20, 2021 4:07:49 am
With people continuing to crowd and roam around without any reason, the Maharashtra government on Monday restricted operation timings of grocery shops from 7 am to 11 am while indicating that a decision on imposing a complete lockdown may be taken by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in the next two days.
The decision about limiting grocery shop timings was taken in a meeting chaired by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar. “We need to stop people from moving around without any reason. For that, a decision has been taken to allow grocery shops to remain open for only four hours so that people do not roam around throughout the day in the name of buying grocery,” Health Minister Rajesh Tope told mediapersons after the meeting.
He added that the government may take more such decisions on restricting timings of essential services to break the chain of the virus. “Restrictions must be made stricter till April 30 considering the crowding and current Covid-19 situation. Instructions have also been given to the police to stop people moving around without any reason and get rid of unnecessary crowding,” Tope said.
Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vijay Wadettiwar said the government is studying the six-day complete lockdown imposed by the Delhi government from Monday night. “Delhi has imposed a strict lockdown. The administration has been instructed to gather information about it. We want to study the nature of Delhi’s lockdown, the restrictions on Metro trains and on essentials services. Based on that, the government will make an announcement,” he added.
Wadettiwar further said that the curfew is not serving the purpose of reducing Covid-19 cases. “This is not a lockdown. Many traders had opposed the lockdown. But today, traders or those providing essentials services and small shopowners are demanding 100 per cent lockdown. This information has been shared with the CM, who is expected to take a decision on complete lockdown in two days after consulting Cabinet colleagues,” he added.
Meanwhile, the state government on Monday issued revised standard operating procedure for managing micro-containment zones. Unlike previous order, now along with office-bearers of a housing society, the local authority will also be held responsible if curfew norms are not followed by residents.
The local authority can decide the boundary of a micro-containment zone if the area has more than one society or a larger geographical area. “It may constitute multiple local task forces, which may involve the medical officer, the police and other relevant authorities,” said the guidelines.
The guidelines added that the local authority can impose more restrictions in a micro-containment zone and curtail the list of essential services. It will not just control the entry of outsiders in micro-containment zones but also disallow domestic helps and drivers. They may be allowed if they stay within the same micro-containment zone and do not travel outside.
The guidelines further said that the local authority can recover the cost of enforcing rules in micro-containment zones from residents and housing societies if it is of the opinion that Covid-19 cases have spread due to residents’ fault. Besides Rs 10,000 fine, it may fine a society over and above it considering the seriousness of the matter, it added.
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