Section 144 imposed in all cities of Maharashtra: Uddhav

Only 5% of government employees will work from offices, he says

March 22, 2020 04:47 pm | Updated 10:16 pm IST - Mumbai

A deserted look at Nariman Point the main cooperated hub in Mumbai after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announces complete shutdown on March 22, 2020.

A deserted look at Nariman Point the main cooperated hub in Mumbai after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announces complete shutdown on March 22, 2020.

To ensure that there is no overcrowding, Section 144 will be imposed in all cities of Maharashtra from Monday to fight the COVID-19 pandemic , said Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in his address to the State. He said the number of government employees working in offices would be cut down to a mere 5% from the existing 25%.

Also read: Coronavirus | Telangana to close borders with Maharashtra for 24 hours from 6 a.m. on March 22

With the announcement, the State stares at virtual lockdown in urban parts till March 31. Maharashtra has seen the highest number of the virus patients in India with the State Health Minister putting the number at 74 on Sunday morning.

“We have entered the critical stage where the patients suffering from the virus not only add but may multiply as per the trends worldwide. It is of utmost importance that we pass through this stage successfully and safely. Therefore, while congratulating the people of Maharashtra on the huge success of the janata curfew, I urge them to not go out even after 9 p.m. or tomorrow [Monday],” said Mr. Thackeray.

Announcing the additional measures taken by the State, Mr. Thackeray said: “Along the metros where restrictions of closing down everything other than essential services have been declared, Section 144 will be implemented in all the cities. We request the citizens to not gather in a group of more than five and also avoid gatherings at market places or even at shops selling essential commodities”. He said all shops selling essential commodities, milk, food items and medicines would remain open and appealed to people to not go on stocking food. “The government has enough food for everyone and supply will not be disconnected.”

Also read: Coronavirus | Maharashtra government orders private offices to go for ‘work from home’

The Chief Minister also announced closure of all modes of public transport — train, local train and metro services as ordered by the Central government. “No inter-State or long-distance buses, both private and State owned, will run till March 31. Decision on whether to extend this stay or not will be taken after reviewing the condition after March 31,” he said. Mr. Thackeray said city bus services would transport only those government employees who are part of providing essential services or those with utmost urgency and need.

“We had initially decided to keep only 50% employees working in rotation mode, which was later brought down to 25%. Now, I have decided to cut it down further to 5% only.”

Clarifying that no new international flights will be landing in India from the night of March 22, Mr. Thackeray appealed to all those who have been stamped for home quarantine to follow the instructions given by doctors with utmost care. “Everyone from Donald Trump to a sarpanch of a village in Maharashtra need to take precautions to avoid the spread of the disease,” he said.

“I also appeal to all religious places to close down immediately. They can continue doing daily prayers but these destinations will be closed for the devotees,” he said.

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