Maharashtra relaxes Covid-19 curbs, allows graded metro rail ops from Thursday

Metro rail operations in Maharashtra will start from Thursday in a graded manner under its mission ‘begin again’ amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The metro rail operations will resume following fresh guidelines issued by the Maharashtra government on Wednesday.

But despite increasing pressure from all quarters including a letter-war between the chief minister and Maharashtra governor, the state government has not issued any guidelines on reopening places of worship so far.

In Maharashtra, Mumbai has one metro line, while metro corridors are operational in Nagpur and Pune. According to the guidelines issued by state chief secretary Sanjay Kumar, Metro operations will start from October 15, in a graded manner. The standard operating procedure for the operations to start will be issued by the urban development department, the guidelines said.

School, colleges, educational and coaching institutions will continue to remain shut till October 31. In an attempt to push economic activities, the state has allowed Business to Business (B2B) exhibitions, locals markets and shops and markets to remain open for two additional hours from 9 am to 9 pm. Local weekly bazaars, including that of animals, will be allowed to operate from October 15, 2020.

The guidelines said that shops and markets will be given two additional hours to operate with an aim to reduce crowding. Currently in Mumbai, shops are open between 9 am to 7 pm.

The state has also allowed reopening all government and public libraries from October 15 with all necessary Covid-19 precautions. Several delegations met political parties including Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray to get the state to reopen libraries.

The state government has also decided to do away with stamping of passengers arriving at domestic airports and at railway stations. However, they will be checked for Covid-19 symptoms and will have to adhere to all Covid-19 norms.

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