Local trains suspended in Bengal, Mamata announces curbs

In an effort to control the raging pandemic in the state, the West Bengal government announced to suspend movement of all local trains till further notice and made Covid negative report mandatory for the passengers coming either by flight or by trains from other states from May 7 midnight. The state government also made a series of announcements to control the movement of people.

Hours after taking the responsibility of the state for the third time in a row, chief minister Mamata Banerjee said, “All local trains to be suspended from tomorrow till further notice and only 50 per cent of the state transport will ply on roads following the increase of Covid cases in the state. Lots of outsiders had come to state in the last three months and now we will have to control it”.

“No flights will be allowed to enter three airports of the state – Dum Dum, Bagdogra and Andal unless all the passengers have their RT-PCR (Covid test) report done 72 hours before boarding the flight. Not only that, all passengers coming by trains or any other means from other states will have to produce their RT-PCR report,” she said.

“Any passenger coming by flight without the report will have to stay in quarantine for 14 days and the airport authorities will have to make an arrangement for that,” the chief minister added.

The chief minister also imposed total ban on shopping malls, cinema halls, gyms, swimming pools, bars, restaurants and hotels while exempting emergency services like Health, Fire Services, Electricity and Telecom from any kind of restrictions.

The chief minister said that local shops, market places and stand-alone shops can open from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the morning and 5 p.m. to 7 pm in the evening. Only jewellery shops and banks will remain open from 12 noon to 3 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. respectively.

“It is requested that people should wear masks, else the government will take strict action against them,” the chief minister said. Apart from this the state government has also put a ban on any kind of gathering related to socio-cultural and academic entertainment programs.

“Only 50 people will be allowed for religious and cultural gatherings like marriage or something like that but in that case prior permission needs to be taken from the local authorities. The state has not only reduced the presence of their employees in the office by 50 per cent but also asked the private sector to reduce the number of employees in the office,” she said.

Prioritising the vaccination of transport workers, journalists and hawkers because they are exposed to the people the most, the chief minister said, “We want to prioritise the people who are waiting for the second dose. We have given 1.5 core vaccines so far and asked for another 3 crore but there has been no response from the central government”.