Mumbai: On March 24 early morning, Maharashtra became the first state in India to cross the ‘one hundred’ mark of the number of COVID-19 patients. At the time of writing this report, the number stood at 101, including four deaths so far.
To prevent community transmission, the state government announced a complete lockdown on Monday 3 pm. Not more than two persons will be allowed to travel in a car [only for an emergency]. All other modes of transport--including local trains in Mumbai for the first time--have been completely shut.
However, on Tuesday morning, many cities in the state witnessed rush in the vegetable and other markets, even as most of the shops were closed.
"Some people have not taken the complete lockdown seriously. If this continues, then the state government will have to take stern action. Don't force us to do that,” said Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Tuesday.
Reports and video footage from Mumbai, Thane, Solapur, Aurangabad, Nasik, and Pune, showed people beelining at the local vegetable markets on Tuesday. "People are scared that if the situation continues, they won't find vegetables in their market. So, they are trying to stock those. They are also buying food grains and other groceries in bulk. They are panicking," said Abhijit Mane, a senior journalist from Sangli who was present at the market.
On the other hand, in Kalyan-Dombivali and Nagpur cities, police caught a few young boys roaming on the streets and reportedly made them do sit-ups on the road, as a punishment. Several videos of these incidents have emerged on social media. Nagpur municipal commissioner Tukaram Munde warned people that if they are seen roaming without a valid reason, they will be imprisoned immediately.
In Ratnagiri town, police reportedly fined 1,614 vehicles plying on the road and collected Rs 6,29,600 on Monday itself.
Maharashtra government has also sealed the district borders. As a result, there is a long queue of trucks and tempos at the border of every district as well as the state border. “As of now, around 2 lakh trucks and tempos have been stopped on these borders across Maharashtra. This is a very primary estimate," said Narendra Ghole, deputy chairman of Goods Carrier Truck Tempo Association of Maharashtra.
To keep a check on the people stepping out, state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh visited many parts of the city. He personally made sure that nobody remains on the road.
"We will be waiting for the announcement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at 8 pm on Tuesday to see if he issues some guidelines on travelling. Otherwise, we will issue a very strict warning on Wednesday morning in the state. There is no other option right now," said a senior minister in the Maharashtra government.
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