'Mission Begin Again': Mumbai remains shut while India begins to unlock

Topics Coronavirus | Delhi Metro | Lockdown

The Delhi-Noida border will not be opened for public amid rising number of coronavirus cases in the national capital
A day after the Centre suggested opening up of most activities outside of the nearly 6,000 containment zones across the country, Maharashtra and Rajasthan turned out to be the outliers as they ordered places of worship, hotels, restaurants, and malls to remain shut.

In another departure from the Centre’s guidelines, which permitted unrestricted inter-state movement, the Delhi-Noida border will not be opened for public amid rising number of coronavirus cases in the national capital, according to the Uttar Pradesh government. Most other states extended the lockdown in containment zones until June 30, but issued guidelines consistent with that of the Centre’s, allowing nearly all economic activities in areas outside these zones. 

In its guidelines, ‘Mission Begin Again’, issued on Sunday, Maharashtra departed from the Centre’s guidelines. CM Uddhav Thackeray said the state needed to tread cautiously now that monsoon was round the corner. It said intra-district bus services can operate, but inter-district bus operations will remain restricted. 

The state said places of worship, restaurants, hotels, malls, and salons would remain shut. The state, however, allowed shooting for films and serials. Maharashtra has allowed all private offices to operate, but with only 10 per cent strength, from June 8, and markets and shops can open from June 5 on odd-even basis. In shops, Maharashtra has asked trial rooms to be kept shut.

Autos and cabs with two occupants were allowed in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Pune, and nine other cities in a phased manner. Parks, gardens, and beaches will be open between 5am and 7pm, but no group activity will be allowed. 

Rajasthan on Sunday allowed full attendance in government and private sectors. The Ashok Gehlot government also allowed interstate and intrastate operation of buses, while providing that the buses would ply within the state only on permitted routes and outside containment zones. City buses, however, were yet not allowed to ply.

 

Tamil Nadu said malls and places of worship would remain shut, but opened hotels and restaurants. It also restricted inter-district bus services. Except in Chennai and containment zones, all firms can function with 100 per cent employees from June 1. In non-containment zones of Chennai, all private firms can function with 50 per cent workforce. Public transport will resume with reduced services from June 1, but buses will not be operated in Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, and Chengalpet districts. The state has allowed salons to operate without ACs. 

Given that it is a quasi-state, Delhi has followed the Centre’s guidelines to open up considerably, but deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia complained that its coffers were empty. Sisodia said Delhi needed nearly Rs 3,500 crore to pay salaries of its employees and to keep its offices functional. He said the Delhi government had not received the disaster relief fund that the Centre has sanctioned to states. With GST collections plummeting to Rs 500 crore each in the past two months, Sisodia said the Delhi government had Rs 1,735 crore currently. He said he has sought Rs 5,000 crore from Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Himachal allowed opening of hotels and hospitality services. Uttarakhand is also likely to do so. Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat along with all others who attended the Friday Cabinet meeting were placed under home quarantine after a minister who was present at the meeting tested positive. 

Uttar Pradesh followed the Centre’s guidelines, as did Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. In UP, industries are now allowed to work night shifts, too, if they can ensure transportation to staff. Telangana and Andhra Pradesh were relieved at the Centre’s guidelines on opening up. But the states are worried about their revenues. Telangana is the only state to continue the 50 per cent pay deferment to the government employees for the third month in a row while Andhra Pradesh decided to pay salaries to its staff in full from May.

Telangana has allowed unrestricted inter-state movement of people and has reportedly asked the Metro Rail to be prepared to resume services this month. Andhra Pradesh education department has submitted proposals on reopening of institutions with strict social distancing protocols.

Gujarat also has largely stuck with the Centre’s guidelines, barring for a few restrictions, especially for Ahmedabad. State public transport will be made operational throughout Gujarat, though for Ahmedabad special depots will be earmarked. Ahmedabad and Surat will have intra-city bus services operate at 50 per cent occupancy, while it is 60 per cent capacity for areas outside containment zones. Street vendors will be allowed to operate from June 8 in areas designated by urban local bodies. The state is yet to release a list of containment zones.

West Bengal has extended the lockdown till June 15. It has allowed private firms to operate with 100 per cent workforce from June 8. Construction activities have been allowed at full capacity. Government offices will operate with 70 per cent workforce. Hotels, restaurants, and malls can open from June 8. Religious places have also been given permission to operate from June 1. However, Tarapith temple said it would remain closed and the Bengal Imam’s committee said it would rather have mosques closed for now.

 
Karnataka allowed inter-state travel, but said those coming from Maharashtra will have to spend seven days in institutional quarantine.

With inputs from Avishek Rakshit, T E Narasimhan, Vinay Umarji, Dasarath Reddy, Virendra Singh Rawat, Jayajit Dash & Archis Mohan


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