Keeping in view the spiralling coronavirus cases the Maharashtra government is likely to impose a 15 day statewide lockdown soon. On Tuesday, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said all cabinet ministers have requested Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to announce the statewide lockdown. “We have requested the chief minister to announce a complete lockdown in the state from tomorrow at 8pm. This was the request of all ministers to the chief minister. Now it is his decision,” Tope said.
Having learnt its lessons from the last lockdown, the government is likely to do away with the pass system this time. Long-distance trains and flights will continue to operate, while inter-district road transport will be closely monitored by the police.
In Mumbai, local train services will not be shut, but they will be available only to those engaged in essential services. Grocery and essential services stores will be allowed to stay open only for limited time in a staggered manner.
Regarding the issuance of passes, officials said there was largescale chaos last time as police had to provide the permits to all those who wanted to travel outside specific cities. In a bid to avoid overcrowding outside police stations, the government is likely to do away with the pass system. This would, however, not mean that private vehicles will be allowed to move freely. Point-to-point checking will be done to make sure that people do not leave homes unnecessarily.
Only those moving within the city for taking vaccine will be allowed to travel on the production of valid documents.
On Tuesday, another minister, Aslam Sheikh, said, “Looking at the shortage of supply of medical oxygen, Maharashtra is heading towards a complete lockdown; guidelines regarding it will be announced soon.”