Bengal lockdown: Mamata govt opens factories, standalone shops, may allow buses, taxis in green zone

The West Bengal government announced a slew of relaxations in the Covid-19 lockdown on Wednesday, especially for small shops, factories and construction activities in the green zones and non-containment areas of the state.

Holding a press conference, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, “We want clear directions from the centre over Covid-19 lockdown… I request everyone to please stay indoors. “

“Nobody can say when this crisis will end. Most of the countries have already announced the lockdown till the end of May and the first week of June. Our experts and doctors believe that the restrictions regarding Covid-19 should continue till the end of May,” she added.

As per the new guidelines, single-unit shops such as stationery shops, colour shops, electronics, hardware, mobile, laundry, tea and paan shops will be allowed to open in green zones in the state from May 1. However, Mamata Banerjee warned people that while tea shops will open, people will not be allowed to gather there.

Other than small shops, factories and construction activities will also be allowed to resume work in green zones, provided all health protocols are followed.

“All such relaxations won’t be applicable in containment zones,” Mamata Banerjee added.

The West Bengal chief secretary informed that all lockdown relaxations will only be applicable from May 1, after a notification from the state government.

The chief minister also said that the state government was contemplating allowing some buses and taxis in green zones to operate. However, the fineprint has not been finalised yet. However, buses will not be allowed to ply between districts.

Mamata Banerjee also announced that West Bengal will be bringing back students from Kota in Rajasthan. “Around 2,500 to 3,000 students from Rajasthan’s Kota will board buses today evening. It will take 3 days for them to reach here,” she said.

On Wednesday, the number of active Covid-19 in West Bengal rose to 550, according to the Mamata Banerjee government. However, data compiled by the Union Health Ministry suggested that the number of active coronavirus cases in the eastern state stands at 584 with 119 recoveries and 22 deaths.

Earlier, the West Bengal government had allowed the home-delivery of non-essential items to resume in the state from April 27.

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