Unlock 4: Why local administrations are choosing restrictions over relaxations
In a few days, India will be completing the fourth phase of the unlocking process that began in June but several cities, towns, districts are yet to come out of restrictions. In fact, some are voluntarily going back the lockdown road to arrest the spread of Covid-19. Unlock 4 in India commenced on September 1 and will be over by September 30 as all previous phases of the unlocking continued for a month.
The Centre is not in favour of lockdown at this point of time when it is focussing on allowing more activities to boost the economy. In its Unlock 4 guidelines, the ministry of home affairs specified that there will be no local restrictions in areas which are not containment zones — without Centre’s permission.
In a recent meeting with the chief ministers of seven states that are contributing maximum to the country’s Covid-19 tally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged the CMs to reassess local lockdowns and instead identify micro-containment zones so that the economic movement doesn’t get stymied.
However, several administrations are choosing lockdowns instead of relaxations as people are flouting social distancing norms and the number of cases, on the other hand, is on the rise.
A total of 10 districts of Chattisgarh, including Raipur, are under complete lockdown from September 21 to September 28. Local administrations have taken the decision. Seven municipal corporation areas in Bilaspur are under lockdown from September 22 morning till September 28 midnight. Some areas are under lockdown till September 30.
The district administration has imposed a three-day lockdown in Jodhpur from September 25 10pm to September 28 5am. “The decision was taken in view of the rising number of cases. People are not following the guidelines such as wearing mask and social distancing. Till the time a vaccine is developed, wearing mask and distancing is the only precaution,” said a district administrative official.
The state government had earlier imposed CrPC Section 144, which prohibits the assembly of four or more people, in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kota, Ajmer, Alwar, Bhilwara, Bikaner, Udaipur, Sikar, Pali and Nagaur.
Narsinghpur in Madhya Pradesh
Traders associations and people have voluntarily decided to declare a one-week Janata curfew in Narsinghpur, a town located near Bhopal.
As the number of Covid-19 cases is rising and the Centre has reservation against lockdowns, local administrations are relying on spontaneous curfews where traders and locals take part voluntarily. Several district collectors in Nagpur, Sangli, Kolhapur, Jalgaon, Raigad, Aurangabad among others announced Janata curfews in Maharashtra. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has also expressed apprehension over a second wave of Covid-19 in the state.