“Conflicting” directives issued by multiple authorites in Pune district, Pune city and Pimpri-Chinchwad, in connection with the COVID-19 situation, have drawn criticism from civic activists.
“Pune is witnessing confusion because of multiple orders by different authorities like civic chiefs, police chiefs, the district collector and police stations. This has not only caused confusion but has made local residents suffer, especially in difficult times,” said Prashant Inamdar of Pedestrians First.
On Twitter, Inamdar has complained about the issue to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
Urging the chief minister to appoint one nodal officer for the district, Inamdar said, “It seems the district collector is not the sole authority despite the Disaster Management Act being in place… Both PMC and PCMC chiefs are issuing separate orders. And both Pune police chief and Pimpri-Chinchwad chiefs are issuing their own separate orders”.
Inamdar said on Sunday, the Pimpri-Chichwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) issued an amended order allowing non-essential shops to open around 8 pm, while Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and police orders on the same were not available till late in the evening.
Manav Kamble, president of Nagar Haqq Suraksha Samiti, has also complained about the “poor coordination between civic and police authorities” to Thackeray. “I don’t think there is effective coordination between civic officials and the police. Civic officials are issuing one order and hours later, police are issuing another one,” he said.
“Last week’s PCMC order said vegetable markets will be permitted to function between 10 am and 4 pm. But across the city, police are asking vendors to wind up by 1 pm. This is just one of the examples,” he said.
When approached for comment, Pune Municipal Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad said, “I agree with the view that there should be one order issued by one authority to avoid any kind of confusion among residents. We have received a few complaints that sometimes police are not following the exact orders that have been issued,” he said.
PCMC Additional Municipal Commissioner Santosh Patil said, “Some days ago, we have also received complaints from local residents that we had issued orders but those were not followed properly…”.
District Collector Naval Kishore Ram denied that there was any confusion over the directives. “The collectorate issues the orders, which is applicable to the entire district. The PMC and and PCMC chiefs issued orders depending on their situations vis-a-vis the containment and non-containment zones. Therefore, I don’t think there is any confusion or lack of coordiantion between different authorities in Pune”.
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