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Covid-19: Pimpri-Chinchwad authorities face challenge of controlling movement from high positivity rural areas

The Pune district administration is going to have a tough time managing the movement of people in the suburbs where residents from adjoining villages with higher Covid-19 positivity rate are likely to visit due to relaxations in lockdown restrictions.

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), after being declared separate entities, have relaxed the restrictions considering the decrease in the Covid-19 positivity rate to below 10 per cent in their respective jurisdiction as per government directives. Accordingly, stand-alone shops of all categories will be open from 7 am to 2 pm in the area of two civic bodies while non-essential shops will be closed on weekends.

The remaining part of the district that includes the rural area, municipal council area and area under three cantonment boards continue to be under the control of district administration for Covid-19 containment.

“The positivity rate in the rural part of the district is at 13 per cent and is slowly coming down. However, the government is allowed to relax restrictions only if it falls below 10 per cent. Thus the lockdown restrictions will continue in the district, except PMC and PCMC, till next week,” said district collector Rajesh Deshmukh recently.

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The restrictions include the complete closure of non-essential shops and allowing essential shops from 7 am to 11 am which too will be closed on weekends. The public in rural areas is not allowed to move without valid reason after 11 am as against the new cut-off time of 3 pm in PMC and PCMC.

The villages sharing their boundaries with PMC and PCMC are densely populated with most of the residents dependent on the urban area for their livelihood. “We are aware that the relaxation in restrictions in urban areas would lead to an influx of residents of adjoining villages in the city. The police would be asked to set up a checkpost on the entry point to the city to check on the movement of residents to and fro the city area,” said an officer from the district administration.

The residents of rural areas will face action if they fail to abide by the rule of not moving after 11 am, he said, adding they will have to return to their home before 11 am even if they visit the urban area.

Many of the employees of essential and non-essential category shops are from the adjoining villages. Also, the godowns of most of the shops are outside the civic jurisdiction. “The decision to allow all shops to open in urban areas is a welcome step. However, the shops would not be able to operate in full capacity if the staff face problems in free movement. We hope the situation in the rural area improves and restrictions are removed which would help us operate shops in a normal way,” said trader Ramesh Joshi of Warje.



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