Amidst an alarming surge in fresh Coronavirus cases, the Maharashtra government has imposed lockdown for a period of 7 days in the city of Nagpur. Nagpur currently has 16,964 active cases, 4th highest in all of Maharashtra.
The lockdown, which begins from Monday (March 15), will witness restrictions on non-essential services and the movement of people. Besides Nagpur, restrictions have also been imposed in nearby areas such as Koradi, Hingna and Kamptee. During the week-long period, only essential services such as grocery stores, meat shops, fruit and vegetable stalls will be allowed to operate.
“More than one shop of these essential shops will not be allowed at one place,” warned Municipal commissioner Radhakrishnan B. He said that strict action will be taken against those, found unnecessarily loitering around in the city. Nagpur residents need to inform zonal officers prior to organising functions even at home. The restrictions, which are imposed for a week now, might be extended till the end of March, depending on the number of Coronavirus cases.
Key restrictions in the movement of people and essential services
While speaking on the development, Collector Ravindra Thakare said that events, which may cause over-crowding, will not be permitted. The exception has been made only for funerals, where a maximum of 20 people are allowed. In any case, pandals outside homes for any programme will not be allowed. People are also restricted from leaving their homes except for essential work or medical emergency. They can only travel to other cities if they have a valid reason.
Ravindra Thakare warned that people from rural areas should not enter Nagpur, else lockdown will also be imposed in those areas. He has directed shutting down of shops by 6 pm. On Sunday, Maharashtra Minister Nitin Raut said, “Further decision on lockdown depends upon decline in cases of coronavirus.” He added that Nagpur has been witnessing 2000 Coronavirus cases per day. “Restrictions are meant to break the virus chain especially in hotspots. Situation in Amravati improved with lockdown. Therefore, people should avoid stepping out of homes and support the effort to control the pandemic,” Raut emphasised.
Activists object to lockdown, point out several flaws
The move was criticised by several activists including Narayan Ahuja and TN Naidu, who argued that the lockdown was imposed without proper assessment. “Crowding will happen if only one shop remains open in one area. Crowd will be distributed if several shops are available, subject to safe distance in one area”, they pointed out. Highlighting several loopholes within the current lockdown guidelines, they said that hardware shops are closed but construction workers without IDs are free to operate.
Maharashtra is one of the worst affected States in the country, in terms of active Coronavirus cases. The state witnessed the highest one day spike (for 2021) of 16,620 new Coronavirus cases on Sunday. While Maharashtra has reported a total of 23.14 lac cases, the death toll in the State stood at 52,861. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray even warned that the state government could reimpose the lockdown if it is deemed necessary to blunt this latest wave of coronavirus cases.