Other States

More homeguards to be recruited to discourage assembly, says Ajit Pawar

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar addressing a press conference in Pune on Friday amid concerns over the spread of novel coronavirus.

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar addressing a press conference in Pune on Friday amid concerns over the spread of novel coronavirus.   | Photo Credit: -

Appeals to all to show collective responsibility, stay indoors and curtail travel

The next 15 days would be extremely crucial in tackling the spread of the nove coronaviru (COVID-19) pandemic, said Deputy Chief Minister and Pune Guardian Minister Ajit Pawar and added that more Home Guards would be recruited to discourage assembly across Pune district where the number of positive cases rose to 21 on Friday.

Despite Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announcing near-lockdown measures for the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Nagpur, dense crowds were witnessed at the Pune railway station as well as the Swargate bus stop, with several anxious groups of students and migrant labourers scrambling to rush back to their hometowns in ‘lesser’ afflicted districts.

Mr. Pawar warned that if this trend of crowding continued, the government and the district administration would have no option but to restrict bus and train services only for those personnel engaged in dispensing essential services.

“Admittedly, large numbers of people are still found at the Swargate bus stop and the Pune Railway station. These crowds comprise of students whose anxious parents are recalling them back to their home towns given that the district has registered 21 positive cases or migrant labourers from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Chhattisgarh trying to get home. I appeal to people not to panic and fulfil their collective responsibility by staying indoors and curtailing travel,” he said.

Mr. Pawar said if traffic was not dramatically reduced in the coming days the authorities would be compelled to consider plying only smaller buses to ferry personnel engaged in providing essential services in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad.

“We are keeping a modicum of bus services in Pune to service the class of cleaners, electricity board staff and others who are providing public services. I again urge people not to crowd near bus stations and indulge in travel when it is not really required. Do not panic, but remember at the same time that this is no holiday,” Mr. Pawar said.

He said the State government was well-equipped to deal with the pandemic and there was no pressing need as yet to seek funds from the Centre.

He called for humane behaviour to be shown to daily wage labourers and urged employers not to cut their salaries.

“The State government would also be making arrangements to provide essential goods for daily wage earners at nominal prices to ease the burden on them in this hour of crisis,” Mr. Pawar said.

The Guardian Minister reassured people in the State’s rural hinterland that adequate facilities were provided for them in the event of the spread of the virus in rural parts of Maharashtra.

Mr. Pawar also urged private companies, and IT firms, to adhere to the directives of the District Collector and permit as many employees as possible to work from home.

Meanwhile, the Pune Market Yard at Gultekdi, the city’s largest market for vegetables and fruits will remain shut for the next three days. in a bid to check the spread of the virus and avoid large congregations of people.

“This will not lead to increase in vegetable prices. The Yard will resume functioning on Monday, March 23 as usual,” said Babasaheb Bhebhane, an agricultural produce dealer.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Related Topics
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 8:13:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/more-homeguards-to-be-recruited-to-discourage-assembly-says-ajit-pawar/article31123904.ece

Next Story