Maharashtra clamps near-total lockdown from Sunday night
As Covid-19 claimed its second victim in Maharashtra in four days and number of afflicted rose to 74, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced a "near-total" lockdown of the state from Sunday midnight till March 31.
The announcement came close on the heels of the shutting of Indian Railways including Mumbai's lifeline, the suburban locals, for the next 10 days, and has been reinforced by slapping prohibitory orders in urban areas right down to Gram Panchayats all over the state.
Thackeray also said that the 14-hour voluntary 'Janata Curfew' on Sunday will be extended till 5 a.m. on Monday.
However, he added that all essential services like banks, stock markets, depositories, clearing houses, power utilities, food and milk shops, communications, etc will continue to function normally.
"Attendance in government offices has been slashed down to only 5 percent, only bare essential services and retail outlets like vegetables, groceries, milk, pharmacies and others shall be functional. I once again appeal to all to stay at home and don't step out unless absolutely essential," Thackeray said in a television statement a short while ago.
The move follows the state orders shutting down all schools, colleges, public places, private companies, religious and tourist places, most public transport, buses from neighbouring states and taking other measures to keep curb crowds over the past three days.
For the first time in its long history, the country's commercial capital will be in a state of near-complete lockdown from midnight, barring essential services.
Besides the suburban train services on Central Railway, Western Railway, Mumbai Metro, MonoRail, the BEST public buses, private buses, autorickshaws, taxis, cab aggregators would be off roads till the month-end.
"These are trying times. I know it is being forced upon you, but we have no options. The critical period is till March 31. Thereafter, we will review and decide if it needs to be extended," Thackeray said.
The total closure of suburban railways will directly affect the commuting population of more than one crore in Mumbai, Raigad, Thane and Palghar, besides the suburban sections serving Pune and surroundings. IANS