Buses/ Representative Pic
Buses/ Representative Pic
File photo

Amid massive rise COVID-19 cases and deaths in Maharashtra, the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray-led government on Wednesday evening has issued fresh guidelines. Under the new orders, the government has laid down new norms for the private passenger transport vehicles.

The guidelines will come into force from April 22, 8 pm and remain in force till May 1, 7 am.

The new guidelines also include restrictions on office attendance, duration of marriage ceremony.

As per the orders, private passenger transport excluding buses can ply only for emergency or essential services or valid reasons with driver plus 50% of the seating capacity. The private transport's travel should not be inter-district or inter-city and should be confined to the city of residence of the travellers. Inter-district or inter-city travel is allowed only if it falls under essential service or in case of medical emergencies or attending unavoidable events like funerals or severe sickness of family. Anyone flouting the order in letter shall be punishable by fine of Rs 10,000.

Besides, private buses can ply with 50 percent of seating capacity with no standing travellers.

Inter-city or inter-district travel by private buses shall be subject to the following controls:

1. Bus service operator must restrict the stoppages to maximum two in a city and shall inform local DMA about the same and the schedule. Local DMA may ask to change these if so desired.

2. At the stoppages where passengers are alighting all passengers shall be stamped on the hand for 14 days home quarantine. This stamping must be done by operator.

3. Thermal scanners shall be used and anyone with symptoms shall be moved to corona care centres or to a hospital.

4. Local DMA may decide to do the RAT test at the alighting point by appointing one of the authorised labs to give these services. Cost of the test, if so decided shall be borne by the passenger/ service provider.

5. If any operator is found to be flouting these guidelines, then DMA may levy a fine of Rs 10,000. Repeated defaults will lead to cancellation of license to operate till end of notification of COVID 19 as a pandemic.

6. The local Disaster Management Authority can waive off the rules regarding mandatory stamping for buses arriving from certain origins as per the local conditions.

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Free Press Journal