Traffic increases as Maharashtra opens up MMR roads, traffic police to initiate random checks
Vehicular traffic is back to normal in Mumbai on Friday amid the easing of lockdown 5:0, which came into effect from June 1 and will be in place till June 30 to prevent the spread of the raging coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.
Maharashtra government has also allowed inter-district movement of vehicular traffic in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), along with the reopening of shops in the city, which is still a red zone, as part of the Mission Begin Again.
Mumbai Traffic Police authorities are conducting random checks on cars after the state government urged Mumbaikars to take out vehicles only for essential services.
“E-passes aren’t required anymore because transport services are allowed in the MMR. Traffic flow has gone up because shops have reopened after over 60 days,” said a Mumbai Traffic Police official.
The traffic flow has increased on the Western Express Highway (WEH), which stretches from the suburban Dahisar to Bandra. Similar scenes were reported during the morning rush hour on the Sion-Panvel highway, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Road in central Mumbai, King’s Circle, and Kalanagar flyover. The toll plazas reported congestion, as the vehicular movement to Mumbai from neighbouring areas such as Thane, Navi Mumbai, Mira Road, and Vasai have increased significantly.
Mumbai Traffic Police authorities are expecting a further surge in people’s movement because suburban train services are yet to begin and Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) buses are running at 50% of their capacity in a bid to maintain social distancing norms.
Some people are preferring to use their personal vehicles to public transport as a precautionary measure against the raging contagion.
The civic authorities have allowed outdoor recreational activities such as jogging, cycling, running, and walking in open public spaces, parks, and playgrounds from June 3.
Government-run offices are allowed to function either 15% or 15 employees, whichever is lower. Motor garages, automobile repair shops and service centres have been allowed to resume their business activities.
Friday was the first day when Mumbai’s shops and markets have been allowed to open between 9 am and 5 pm on odd-even days as part of Maharashtra’s Mission Begin Again.
Taxis and auto-rickshaws are also back on the road. Private offices can open from June 8 with 10% of their employees, but the rest of the staff have to work from home.
However, these relaxations don’t apply to containment zones, where only essential services such as chemist shops and grocery shops have been allowed to remain open.