To stop coronavirus from becoming a full-blown epidemic, Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) commissioner Tukaram Mundhe on Friday declared a complete lockdown of the city from Saturday under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, till March 31. The order followed chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s decision to lock down all major cities in the state, Mumbai, Pune, Pimpri, and Nagpur.
In Amravati too, collector Shailesh Naval ordered the closure of all permit rooms, wine shops, and restaurants till March 25. In Chandrapur, Section 144 was imposed from Friday and all establishments were told to observe complete clampdown from Saturday evening.
The Nagpur order means all establishments, excluding essential services like groceries and medicines, would be shut down till March 31, and there would be a partial curfew-like situation in the city.
Taxi services like Ola, Uber and autorickshaws wouldn’t be allowed to ply. However, Mundhe said the administration would allow ‘home delivery’ of food from restaurants and hotels, and also similar service by food delivery chains like Zomato and Swiggy.
Divisional Commissioner Sanjeev Kumar told TOI that industrial establishments in and outside city limits, like in Hingna, Butibori, Kalmeshwar and even Mihan, would be closed till March 31.
“Also, any other industry coming within 15km of Nagpur city limit would be shut. We, however, would allow autos to ply in medical and other emergencies,” he said.
MahaMetro has declared there will be no Metro services on Sunday, and trains will run at 30-minute intervals on Saturday. NMC would also keep its city bus service closed on Sunday and operate only minimal services. Even BSNL has closed all its customer service centres.
Police commissioner Bhushan Kumar Upadhyay declared that all orders issued by the collector and NMC chief would be strictly enforced in the city and those violating would be brought to book.
Justifying the decision to close down all establishments, Mundhe said this will ensure citizens don’t gather at one place and stop the spread of coronavirus. “All establishments, including industrial units and private offices, would be closed till March 31. This was done to maintain social distancing because of Covid-19 threats,” he said while warning of action under Section 188 of IPC, where a person can be kept behind bars for a month.
Earlier, guardian minister Nitin Raut reviewed Covid-19 preparations along with senior police and IAS officers. He assured action against shopkeepers keeping their establishments open despite closure orders.
On Thursday, home minister Anil Deshmukh had raided Haldiram’s and Sujal Saoji and directed offences against both. Later, cops had registered offences against some restaurants for parcel delivery and also against Zomato.
On reports of the city borders being sealed for outsiders, Raut said vehicles with outside registration numbers will be stopped at checkpoints and their occupants will be questioned. “There is no restriction on coming to Nagpur. Vehicles with city registration numbers will not be stopped. The lockdown of suburban areas like Wadi and Kamptee is under consideration,” he said.
The state government has already closed malls, theatres, schools and colleges, clubs, pubs, amusement parks and other places of public gathering. “Citizens shouldn’t go out of their homes at any cost except for essential services. All places of mass gathering, including vegetable markets, would be shut down and even morning walk or jogging will be prohibited. NMC assistant commissioners along with local police would keep a close watch on the entire city to stop people from coming out of homes,” the NMC commissioner said.
The administration has also decided to come down heavily on people spitting on roads in public. “Our Nuisance Detection Squads (NDS) along with cops would keep watch on such activities. Those spitting would be imposed a fine of Rs1,000 on the spot,” Mundhe added.
Speaking on government directives to work with 25% workforce, Nagpur University vice-chancellor SP Kane said they would first ask employees whether they want to work voluntarily. “Accordingly, we will employ them in shifts of two to three hours each.”
In other development, the Legal Metrology Department’s divisional deputy controller DL Kove asked pharmacy shops to display availability of masks and sanitizers outside their establishments because of their growing demand.
(With inputs from timesofindia)