Maharashtra government notifies easing of lockdown rules

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Notifying extensive relaxations for the lockdown period from April 20 to May 3, the Maharashtra government on Friday paved the way for resumption of farm-sector activities, operation of goods trains as well as road transporters, truck repair garages and dhabas along the highway.

Courier services, e-commerce, confectioneries, snack and sweet shops, and home delivery services by restaurants are also set to resume in the State according to the guidelines that allow select activities to be permitted by district administrations.

Barring passenger movement, the revised guidelines state that the movement, loading, unloading of all essential and non-essential goods — both inter-State and intra-State — is allowed, including through goods trains operated by the Railways.

Operations of airports, seaports and land ports for cargo movement as well as relief and evacuation, has been permitted too, along with the movement of trucks with two drivers and one helper per truck. To facilitate their smooth functioning, shops for truck repair and dhabas at highways will be allowed to open.

Marine fishing and aquaculture industry work, as well as minor forest produce-related activities have been given a green signal, along with coal and mineral production and transportation, manufacturing units of packaging material for food items, drugs, pharmaceutical and medical services — as reported earlier. Cold storage and warehousing facilities can also begin functioning after April 20.

Mandatory requirements

District administrations have been entrusted with allowing these operations, based on strict compliance with norms and a mandatory requirement for all such activities to be undertaken only after ensuring adequate physical distancing between personnel and provision of proper hygiene facilities for all concerned.

With unemployment and nutrition distress surging, works under the MNREGA scheme have been permitted with strict implementation of social distancing norms, along with distribution of nutrients through anganwadis at the doorstep.

Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, the bulwark of industrial job creation, have been allowed to operate in rural areas, if engaged in manufacturing of essential activities like wheat flour, pulse and edible oils. Separately, brick kilns and industries in rural areas and Special Economic Zones in rural areas can begin operations.

The State government has also allowed construction activities of road (including urgent pre-monsoon works), and projects related to irrigation, renewable energy and construction, where workers are available at the site.

Farming operations in the field by farmers and farm labourers as well as mandis operated by the APMC or as notified by the State government will be allowed to function. To ensure that there are no glitches in the farm to fork supply chain, all agricultural and horticultural produce-related processing, packaging and transport is being permitted.

Manufacturing and packaging units of fertilisers, pesticides and seeds will also be allowed after April 20.

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