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Maharashtra government shuts down all industries except those in essential services

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Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday stopped short of calling it a lockdown but imposed strict restrictions across the state for the next 15 days and shut down all industries except those that are part of essential services.

The restrictions announced during Thackeray’s address to the state included prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC, night curfew and ban on all big gatherings. The state government shut down all industries, including the manufacturing ones that are not part of essential services or not export oriented. Only essential services and those from the exempted category can work.

The notification from the state government that followed his announcement said “no one shall move in a public place without valid reasons.” The restrictions will be in force till 7 am of May 1.

The chief minister said there has been a frightening increase in cases and the state health apparatus would be overwhelmed if the cases are not brought down.

“We would be struggling to provide oxygen to our patients.. There is a time to act and if we don’t act now, then no one would be able to come to our help,” said the chief minister.

CM Thackeray said he would request for more oxygen from neighbouring states, and that since it has now been allotted from faraway West Bengal he would check with the Centre whether it would be possible to avail the services of the Air Force to transport it.

Essential services in the notification includes: medical services, ancillary services that provide raw material for it, veterinary services, animal care shelters and pet food shops, grocery, vegetable, dairy, bakery, confectionary shops and all kinds of food shops, cold storage and warehousing services.

Public transport, airplanes, trains, taxis ,autos and buses will ply. Stock market exchanges as well as SEBI related depositories, clearing corporations, financial services, telecom services, agriculture related activities, water supply workers, postal workers, customs, ports, units engaged in raw materials for any essential services, petrol pumps, cargo services, data centres, govt and private security service are all listed under essential services.

Also exempted are offices of central and state governments, all kinds of banks. Insurance, mediclaim companies, all kinds of pharmaceutical companies, RBI regulated intermediaries. all non banking finance corporations, micro finance institutions, offices of advocates and operation of courts, tribunals or commissions of inquiries.

However these have been asked to run with “no more than 50% of normal capacity, except for government offices that are concerned with the response to Covid 19 pandemic”.

The government has said that in the manufacturing sector, “only items needed for essential services as per this order to remain operational with full capacity” .

Export oriented units that need to fulfill export obligation, units that cannot be shut and restarted immediately without considerable time requirement may continue with 50% of workforce at any given point of time.

“All the factories, industries, not specifically allowed here in must stop their operations, till the end of period specified in these orders.’ said the government notification.

The chief minister also allowed a financial package of Rs 5,476 crores, wherein those eligible for the Annadata yojana will get 3 kilo wheat and Rs 2 kilo rice per month. Shiv Bhojan meals would be distributed free to the poor. Financial packages were also announced for licensed hawkers, adivasis and construction workers.

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