The Pune district administration on Tuesday permitted sale of petrol, till now restricted to those engaged in dispensing essential services, to all private vehicles in the district from Wednesday. The relaxation, however, will not be applicable to autorickshaws and cab aggregators like Ola and Uber.
Pumps in Pune city will remain open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Wednesday, while those outside the Pune Municipal Corporation limits will remain open 24 hours. After 7 p.m., only vehicles ferrying essential service workers will be given fuel in the city.
The decision follows a day of confusion, after District Collector Naval Kishore Ram allegedly passed a similar order on Monday, only to revoke it by the end of the day. This resulted in huge queues outside petrol pumps in the city on Monday and Tuesday morning, with attendants turning away private vehicles.
On Tuesday, Pune MP Girish Bapat held a meeting with the Divisional Commissioner, the District Collector and representatives of the Pune Petrol Dealers Association to clear the air.
“Sale of fuel to private vehicles will resume with certain rules that are to be followed at petrol pumps. Both pump attendants as well as vehicle drivers will have to compulsorily wear face masks and follow social distancing rules. Furthermore, there must only be a single rider on a two-wheeler and not more than three people in a four-wheeler,” Sagar Rukari, vice-president of the association, said.
The district administration had restricted fuel sales on March 24 to prevent vehicular movement during the lockdown. As a result, sales at the 150-odd petrol pumps across Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad had plummeted to barely 10% of their pre-lockdown business.
In Nashik, meanwhile, District Collector Suraj Mandhare has permitted all non-essential shops outside the city’s containment zones to reopen. He has permitted wedding ceremonies to be held in non-containment zones with the caveat that no more than 50 people are in attendance.
While Nashik district has reported more than 380 COVID-19 cases and 12 deaths, 330 cases and most of the deaths have been reported from Malegaon. The city has reported a little over 50 COVID-19 cases thus far.