PMR lockdown

The Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad municipal corporations on Sunday evening released identical orders for a ten-day total lockdown to be enforced from July 14. Only milk suppliers, medical stores, hospitals and clinics will be allowed to operate on these five days. There are no restrictions on media operations either.

A few exemptions have been made to allow grocery shops, vegetable vendors, and the sale of mutton, chicken and eggs between 8 am and noon from July 19 to 23.

Vikram Kumar, who took over as Pune municipal commissioner on Sunday, said, “These steps are needed to stop the spread of Covid-19 and also to control the increasing number of positive patients.”

The department of disaster management and rehabilitation authority has empowered municipal commissioners to issue such orders.

“The lockdown is an essential step to break the chain (of the infection spread). Citizens should cooperate with the authorities and inform the health department if they develop any symptoms. Practising social distancing, wearing masks and personal hygiene can help a lot in the current situation,” Pimpri Chinchwad municipal commissioner Shravan Hardikar said.

All types of public and private vehicles — barring those engaged in Covid-19, emergency and essential services, exempted services like media, and transport to and from the airport and railway stations — will be off the roads.

App-based food delivery services will remain closed throughout the 10-day lockdown period, while e-commerce services will be barred from July 14 to 18 and can resume operations thereafter.

Also off limits are morning or evening walks, and all playgrounds, open public places and gardens. Similarly, salons, spas and beauty parlours will remain closed for all 10 days.

The orders further stated that industrial operations will remain functional with 50% staff, while the IT sector has been allowed to remain functional with 15% strength. No restrictions have been put on those assisting the elderly. Housekeeping services will remain suspended. Wedding ceremonies too have been prohibited, but those who have already taken prior permission will be allowed to proceed with a maximum of 20 people in attendance.

Anyone found violating the orders are liable to be prosecuted under sections 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, apart from action under IPC Section 188 and other legal provisions as applicable, the orders stated.

The Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad police will not be issuing separate orders. “PMC’s order is the outcome of an overall comprehensive discussion, which also involved the Pune police,” Pune’s joint CP Ravindra Shisve said.

On Friday, Hardikar and Kumar’s predecessor Shekhar Gaikwad had said that the civic bodies would be utilizing the lockdown to augment critical health care infrastructure, including setting up new Covid-19 care centres, ICUs, ventilators and oxygen beds, enhancing testing capacity and vigorous contact-tracing.

“Construction works shall continue in rural areas. It shall continue in Pune city and Pimpri Chinchwad also on the condition of in situ labour,” Pune collector Naval Kishore Ram tweeted via his official handle (@navalMH).

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