Non-essential workplaces in Mumbai, three cities shut

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on March 20, 2020

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray   -  PTI

Radical move as 4 more detected with the virus, taking State’s tally to 52; closure till March 31

With the number of patients infected by the Covid-19 virus moving up to 52 in the State, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced that from Friday midnight all shops, establishments and private companies in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Pune and Pimpri-Chinchiwad, and Nagpur will remain closed till March 31.

The Thackeray Government has announced that most radical move as four new patients have been detected with the virus since Thursday. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region is the epicentre of India’s economy. The Mumbai circle of Income Tax Department posts the highest revenue every year. For FY19, the Mumbai region mopped ₹3.52-lakh crore, which was 32 per cent of the country’s total income tax collection.

Addressing the media, Thackeray said that the corona pandemic needs to be contained. However, in Mumbai, the local rail system and buses cannot be shut down as a whole range of support staff working for hospitals, municipal offices and other essential services use these modes of transport, he said.

State Government offices have also been asked to operate at 25 per cent manpower. Only essential shops and establishment such as food, medicines, milk, banks and financial institutions will operate.

Some exemptions

The State Government has decided to exempt stock exchanges, clearing corporations, depositories, stockbrokers and SEBI-registered participants from the lockdown.

There has been a marked reduction in crowds. However, it still needs to be done for 15 days. “We don't have any option but to have a social distancing,” the Chief Minister said. He asked owners of establishments to pay salaries of their employees. He said the State government is working on a financial plan to cope with the losses.

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said the government has decided to take the step as local trains and buses were still crowded. “The State Government decided to do this because if you shut offices and establishments then people have no reason to use trains and buses. However, if we see that in the next two days there is no improvement in the crowds, then we would have to shut down trains and buses,” he said.

Published on March 20, 2020

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