Coronavirus in Panvel: PMC bows down to public pressure, lifts lockdown

The Panvel Municipal Corporation (PMC) bowed down to the demand for lifting the lockdown made by citizens and political parties. The civic body lifted the lockdown two days before the deadline, in non-containment zones. Now, shops will be open on an odd-even basis in containment zones from July 22.

Earlier, the civic body had imposed a lockdown for 10 days from July 3, that ended on the midnight of July 13 and extended it by another 10 days from July 14. However, the move was opposed by citizens and local politicians. Despite this, the civic body went ahead with its decision and implemented a strict lockdown.

Even essential shops, except chemists', were prohibited from selling goods over-the-counter. The civic body only allowed home delivery of groceries, milk and vegetables but failed to make sufficient arrangements for this plan. Not many shops could home-deliver, for want of staff.

Residents and local politicians started demanding to lift the lockdown as they were facing difficulties and it became difficult to get basic kitchen items. MLA Prashant Thakur threatened an agitation. “The lockdown has paralysed economic activity in the city. Poor people are having a tough time meeting daily needs. There is no meaning in extending the lockdown,” said Thakur. He added that there was a need for maximum number of tests and providing medical assistance to infected persons.

Initially, the civic body eased the lockdown and allowed the over-the counter sale of essential items with a timeline. However, residents kept up pressure for the lifting of the lockdown.

Finally, the civic body did so, except in cluster containment and containment zones and allowed economic activity under Mission Begin Again. Now, shops will be open on odd-and-even basis, from 9am to 5pm. The APMC, fish market, malls and shopping complexes are not allowed to open till further orders. However, residents will have to follow social distancing, wear masks and refrain from spitting in public places.

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