Near-complete lockdown in Bengal from Sunday
Passengers waiting in a queue at a bus stand during the suspension of local train services across West Bengal as part of the efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, in Kolkata on May 13, 2021.Kuntal Chakrabarty/ IANS

Near-complete lockdown in Bengal from Sunday

Kolkata, May 15, 2021

Considering the steep rise in Covid cases, the Mamata Banerjee government imposed a near-complete lockdown in the state starting from Sunday 6 a. m. for the next 15 days, allowing movement of people and vehicles only for emergency.

The state government stopped short of announcing a total lockdown, giving slight relief by allowing market places and retail shops to operate three hours a day between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.

"We are taking some strict containment measures to contain the pandemic. Starting Sunday 6 a.m., West Bengal will go into lockdown till 6 p.m. on May 30.

"During this period, all government and private offices, other than those involved in emergency services, shall remain closed.

"All educational institutions shall remain closed," Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay said.

In an earlier order, the state government had announced 50 per cent attendance in government and private offices.

"The Metro train services, local trains and intra-state bus services and ferry services will remain suspended," he said, adding that all forms of commercial and private vehicles would also come under its purview.

"Trucks and goods vehicles will also not be allowed to operate," he added.

The state earlier had suspended the movement of train and metro but allowed bus and ferry services with limited occupancy.

The state government, though, has given relaxation to taxi and auto services but they will only be allowed to operate to and from emergency departments like hospitals, nursing homes, diagnostic centres, clinics, vaccination centres, airports, media houses and terminals.

All shopping complexes, malls, bars, sports complexes, pubs and beauty parlours will remain closed during this period, he said, adding that any form of congregation will not be allowed.

"Marriage ceremony will be allowed with 50 people and in funeral procession only 20 will be allowed.

"The emergency services will be allowed to operate under the condition," the chief secretary said.

"The shops and the market-places will remain open for three hours a day and the sweet shops will be allowed to remain open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The auto repair shops will be allowed to stay open," he said.

Stressing that people should follow the safety protocols and wear masks, he said that anyone found flouting the lockdown norms will be strictly dealt with under the Disaster Management Act and as per relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.

IANS

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