Mumbai: The Maharashtra government on Wednesday enforced multiple new restrictions including a ban on inter-city and inter-district travel and restrictions on office attendance in an attempt to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
The new rules under the government's ‘Break- the-Chain’ program will come into effect from Thursday 8 pm and will remain in place till 7 am on May 1. With the state adding over 50,000 COVID cases daily over the last two weeks, ministers in the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government had indicated the day before that a new lockdown was imminent.
RESTRICTIONS ON TRANSPORT
PRIVATE PASSENGER TRANSPORT
· Private Passenger transport excluding buses can ply only for emergency or essential services or valid reasons with driver plus 50 per cent of the seating capacity. These are not expected to be inter-district or inter-city and should be confined to the city of residence of the travellers. Inter-district or inter-city travel is allowed only if required for performing an essential service or in case of medical emergencies or attending unavoidable events like funerals or severe sickness of family. Anyone flouting the order in letter or spirit shall be punishable by fine of Rs 10,000.
· Private buses can ply with 50 per cent of seating capacity with no standing travellers.
· Inter-city or inter-district travel by private buses shall be subject to following controls:
i. Bus service operator must restrict the stoppages to a maximum of two in a city and shall inform local disaster management authority (DMA) about the same and the schedule. Local DMA may ask to change these if so desired.
ii. At the stoppages where passengers are alighting all passengers shall be stamped on the hand for 14 days home quarantine. This stamping must be done by operator.
iii. Thermal scanners shall be used and anyone with symptoms shall be moved to corona care centres or to a hospital.
iv. Local DMA may decide to do the rapid antigen test (RAT) test at the alighting point by appointing one of the authorised labs to give these services. Cost of the test, if so decided shall be borne by the passenger/ service provider.
v. If any operator is found to be flouting these guidelines, then DMA may levy a fine of Rs 10,000. Repeated defaults will lead to cancellation of license to operate till end of notification of COVID 19 as a pandemic.
vi. The local Disaster Management Authority can waive off the rules regarding mandatory stamping for buses arriving from certain origins as per the local conditions.
PUBLIC PASSENGER TRANSPORT
· Only the following categories of people will be allowed to use local trains, metro and monorail services (excepting long-distance trains)
i. All Government personnel (State/ Central/ Local), Tickets/ passes to be issued to the above category of personnel on the basis of a Government issued identity card only.
ii. All Medical Personnel (Doctors/ paramedics/ lab technicians/ hospital and medical clinic staff etc), Tickets/ passes to be issued on the basis of a identity card issued by the concerned medical organization.
iii. Any persons needing medical treatment or specially abled persons and one person accompanying the needy.
· State government or local government owned public buses shall ply at 50% of the capacity with no standing passengers.
Inter-city or inter-district travel by long-distance trains and buses shall be subject to the following controls:
i. Local Railway officers, MSRTC officers shall provide all the information that local DMA may require for screening the people travelling by these trains and alighting in their jurisdictions.
ii. At the stoppages where passengers are alighting, all passengers shall be stamped on the hand for 14 days home quarantine. Thermal scanners shall be used and anyone with symptoms shall be moved to corona care centres or to a hospital.
iii. Local DMA may decide to the RAT test at the alighting point by appointing one of the authorised labs to give these services. Cost of the test, if so decided shall be borne by the passenger.
iv. The local Disaster Management Authority can waive off the rules regarding mandatory stamping for buses arriving from certain origins as per the local conditions.
e. All other conditions other than the ones specified in this order will be in accordance with the Government Order dated 13 April 2021 and additions/ clarifications already issued thereof by the State Government.
Meanwhile, the state on Wednesday reported 67,468 fresh cases, taking its tally to 40,27,827.