Maharashtra may ease restrictions selectively for industry

Mumbai, April 16 (IANS) In a major development, Maharashtra is contemplating easing of restrictions selectively in certain industrial areas with stringent safety conditions from Monday, April 20, Industry Minister Subhash Desai indicated here on Thursday.

In a video statement, he said that the move follows a joint meeting with officials of the Industry and Health Departments to consider kickstarting commerce in industry in the state which is virtually paralysed since March 25, even as the national lockdown has been extended till May 3.

“Areas or industries falling under the ‘Red Zone' will not be permitted for the time being in view of the large number of cases there. The government will consider all aspects and consult the local authorities before deciding on the ‘Orange Zones', while in ‘Green Zones' we don't see any problems,” Desai said.

He ruled out any easing in areas like Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Kalyan-Dombivali and Bhiwandi in Thane, Vasai-Virar in Palghar, Pimpri-Chinchwad in Pune, Aurangabad, Nashik, Nagpur and other urban industrial centres falling in the ‘Red Zones' – as IANS reported on April 15.

Since it would be impossible for industries or people falling in the containment areas to enter or exit, it will not be feasible to loosen any restrictions in the ‘Red Zones', the minister pointed out.

In districts falling under the ‘Orange Zone', where there are very few cases, the government would consider permitting agriculture activities and local industries to resume work, but with stringent conditions pertaining to safety, social distancing, transportation and whether they can offer residential facilities to their employees on the work premises, etc, Desai said.

In such areas where the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation has a presence, it may be possible to erect temporary residential camps for the workers there, subject to all safety norms if all the small industries work together.

However, he made it clear that all this would be subject to clearance by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray after taking into account all relevant factors, and the guidelines of the Centre issued on Wednesday.

Desai said that this would help those who have lost their jobs besides gradually setting in motion the trade, commerce and industry which is currently immobilised due to Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.

Besides Desai, the meeting was attended by Industries Secretary Venugopal Reddy, Industry Commissioner Harshdeep Kamble, MIDC CEO P. Anbalagan, Director of Medical Education Department T. P. Lahane, NRHM Director Anup Kumar Yadav and other top officials.



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