Mumbai Metro Works Stop as Maharashtra Rolls Back Easing of Norms

A day after certain relaxations in the lockdown norms came into force, the Maharashtra government rolled back all of them yesterday (Tuesday, 21st April 2020) for Mumbai and Pune and the regions surrounding these two Covid-19 hotspots. The eased norms can continue in the rest of the state. All services that were operational in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and Pune Metropolitan Region (PMR) before Monday, like sale of essential goods and medicines, will go on as usual.

A senior official said chief minister Uddhav Thackeray had warned that if people failed to maintain social distancing, relaxations as approved by the Centre like opening of rashan and sweet shops, services by plumbers and mechanics, renewal of IT services and limited construction activities, would be rolled back.

“The pictures on TV channels and newspapers of long queues at toll nakas and crowds at some parts of the city on Monday prompted chief minister Uddhav Thackeray to withdraw all relaxations in MMR and PMR, the Covid-19 hotspots in the state,” said an official.

After relaxation rollback, Metro work stops; said BMC yesterday in view of the large number of people commuting in view of relaxations allowed as per a notification on April 17 and the resultant threat of spread of the pandemic, the relaxations stand withdrawn. With the rollback order, construction on public projects like the Metro has come to a standstill.

The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) said it has stopped all tunnelling, but will continue pre-monsoon works. Also, since the order covers MMR, some of the industries that could have started in the rural areas (outside municipal limits) will not be able to do so now. The notification on April 17 in the extended phase of the lockdown till May 3 had allowed construction activities within municipal limits if workers were available on site.

The municipal commissioners in the two regions have revoked the order. In Mumbai, initially limited pre-monsoon work-—say a basement is half done and there are chances it could get flooded in the monsoon, the builder could finish it—were withdrawn in the evening. Senior officials said civic pre-monsoon works too were a part of the relaxation order, but the permission has been revoked.

They said the state government is likely to issue detailed guidelines allowing these in the next few days. The BMC said it will carry out pre-monsoon works as usual with all precautions in place. Some private offices that are part of essential services can operate and all agricultural and allied activities can be carried out as allowed in the original lockdown circular.

As per the April 17 order, private security services and maintenance and upkeep of office and residential complexes too were allowed, which will not be applicable anymore. Also, in line with the Centre, the state has allowed vehicles of e-commerce companies to ply for delivery of essential commodities only.

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