Given the rising number of coronavirus cases, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government on Sunday said that it was not keen on removing restrictions on inter- and intra-state movement of persons and goods proposed by the Union Home Ministry in its advisory issued on Saturday. Instead, the state government said it would review the situation after a fortnight and decide.
Clearly, the MVA government is prepared for a face-off with the Centre, which has warned that the ''restrictions at the local level, imposed by the district administration or by the state government, amount to violation of the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.''
Home Minister Anil Deshmukh told The Free Press Journal, ''I have discussed the Union Home secretary's letter dated August 22, on the removal of inter- and intra-state movement of goods and people with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who has said the present arrangement will continue for a while in the wake of rising Covid-19 cases, especially in rural parts of Maharashtra.'' He however, said the government would decide on its future course of action in a fortnight.
Currently, there is a ban on inter- and intra-state movement of persons and goods, except for essential services and only after procurement of an e-pass issued by police.
Earlier, Deshmukh had tweeted: "We have taken note of the recent guidelines announced by the Centre, removing all restrictions on inter state and intra state movement of goods and people. An appropriate decision will be taken after discussion with the honourable CM and DCM.''
The state government's move comes when the progressive Covid-19 positive cases have crossed 6.70 lakh, with over 1.69 lakh active cases. Even as the situation in Mumbai and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region is coming under control, the state government is worried about a surge in cases in Nagpur, Pune, Solapur, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur, Jalgaon, Aurangabad, Osmanabad, Amravati and Akola districts.
As reported by The Free Press Journal, the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation had, three days ago, resumed inter-district bus services after five months. While allowing the MSRTC bus services to resume, the state government had withdrawn the condition of e-passes, which had earlier been compulsory for passengers in the lockdown. But the government has made it mandatory for the private vehicle operator to obtain an e-pass for inter-district movement.