Mumbai, April 21 (IANS) Rattled by the huge turnout of crowd since Monday after the lockdown norms were eased for industrial purposes, the Maharashtra government on Tuesday abruptly revoked the rules for Mumbai and Pune metropolitan regions.
In a terse order on Tuesday, Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta yanked off the relaxation orders for the entire Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and Pune Metropolitan Region (PMR) – which comprise the biggest industrial centre of the state and India.
The previous order of April 17, slackening the norms to kickstart select industrial and trading activities, has been completely withdrawn for MMR and PMR due to “the imminent threat of further spread of the COVID-19 pandemic”.
Besides being the biggest hub of industrial and commercial activities in the country, since the past couple of months, MMR-PMR areas also account for the highest number of COVID-19 deaths and positive cases in the country.
However, Mehta said that e-commerce companies and their vehicles would be permitted to ply with necessary permissions, while those supplying essential food, medicines, pharma and medical equipment will continue as before.
Similarly, the directions opening up the delivery of print media products for doorstep delivery has also been cancelled for MMR and Pune Municipal Corporation jurisdictions, and all containment zones declared by the District Collector.
Accordingly, in all these areas, newspapers shall continue to be sold only through the exempted establishments.
The state government’s decision was spurred after massive criticism on social media as hordes of vehicles turned out after the relaxation of norms for industrial purposes.
The Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation has invited online applications for manufacturing units in ‘Green Zone’ and ‘Orange Zone’ to enable them to re-start their activities with stringent conditions.
It may be recalled that a large number of vehicles came out on the roads in Mumbai since Monday, especially at the toll-posts, overwhelming the health and law enforcement authorities, and raising apprehensions of a potential further spread of coronavirus.