Amid the massive rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths in Maharashtra, the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray-led government on Wednesday evening issued strict guidelines to curb the spread of the pandemic. Meanwhile, Maharashtra Transport Minister Anil Parab has on Thursday added a new a new guideline to the already existing ones. State Transport (ST) buses will ply only for essential services, the Shiv Sena leader said.
"ST buses will run both inter-district and intra-district but it will be only for essential services. A meeting has been called to discuss the scheduling of the ST buses and a final decision regarding it will be made after this meeting. But now, according to the guidelines given by the government, STs will run but only for essential services," Parab said.
Besides, private passenger transport, excluding buses, is only allowed for emergency or essential services or valid reasons with driver plus 50% of the seating capacity. "Inter-district or inter-city travel is allowed only if required for performing an 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 or spirit shall be punishable by a fine of Rs 10000," read the order released on Wednesday evening.
Inter-city or inter-district travel by private buses is allowed. However, it is subjected to following conditions:
i. 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.
ii. 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.
iii. Thermal scanners shall be used and anyone with symptoms shall be moved to corona care centres or to a hospital.
iv. 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.
v. If any operator is found to be flouting these guidelines, then DMA may levy a fine of 10000/-. Repeated defaults will lead to cancellation of license to operate till end of notification of COVID 19 as a pandemic.
vi. The local Disaster Management Authority can waive off the rules regarding mandatory stamping for buses arriving from certain origins as per the local conditions.