Mamata permits partial opening of tea gardens

Kolkata, April 9 (IANS) The West Bengal government on Thursday permitted partial opening of tea gardens with limited number of workers and allowed plying of a few taxis for emergency service and home delivery purposes among a series of fresh relaxations to the ongoing lockdown to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

Announcing the relaxations, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also urged people not to violate the lockdown as the number of Covid-19 cases was going up in the state.

As per the state government figures, there are 80 active Covid-19 patients admitted to different hospitals in the state while five persons have succumbed to the dreaded virus so far.

According to the Central government, the total number of cases recorded in West Bengal since the onset of the disease is 103.

In order to facilitate plucking of tea leaves in north Bengal, Banerjee said the gardens can deploy a maximum of 15 per cent of the workforce. “But there has to be complete sanitisation and maintaining of social distancing norms,” she said.

For the sake of home delivery of essential commodities like food and to meet emergency needs, Banerjee announced that a few taxis would be allowed to ply.

Places will be identified for taxi stands and helpline numbers will be made public for availing the service.

“We will allow a few taxis to operate. People who need it, like those involved in home delivery business or those having some emergency, can avail the services. But a maximum of three passengers will be allowed in a taxi,” she said.

With business across all sectors taking a hit due to the pandemic, the Chief Minister announced that the deadline for renewal of licences would be extended till June 30.

She also urged MSMEs to manufacture masks made of cloth in bulk.



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