MUMBAI: Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday clarified that the State government is not going to shut down public transport like local trains, metro, BEST and MSRTC buses.
The CM, however, cautioned that people should cooperate with the government otherwise they will have to take stringent measures.
The CM also said that to avoid crowds at government offices and business districts in the State, the government has decided to function with 50 per cent staff in the offices and private offices have been asked to allow employees to work from home wherever possible. He further appealed to the people not to venture out unnecessaryly.
“If people don’t listen to the government’s directives, then the government will shut down public transport services,” Thackeray said.
A cabinet meeting was held on Tuesday to decide over shutdown issue in the State due to the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Maharashtra has also reported a fatality due to COVID-19 in Mumbai.
Meanwhile, the State Election Commission on Tuesday indefinitely postponed all upcoming elections to different civic bodies in Maharashtra as a precautionary measure against Covid-19, an official said.
During the cabinet meeting, all ministers and officers said that if the government shuts down public transport, it will create unnecessary panic among people and may result in huge chaos.
The cabinet also discussed the issue regarding shut down of all government offices for at least seven days, however, decided against it as it will it create chaos and the government offices will be non-functional for seven days, which is not affordable at the moment.
Even it will spread bad signals in rural areas, that is not even affected due to coronavirus. After discussing all the pros and cons of this, the government finally decided to work with the half of it’s strength. This will control the crowds visiting government offices and even the rush in public transport will also be controlled.
Earlier in the morning, there were rumours that Thackeray will take a decision on suspending the Mumbai’s lifeline, the local train services, for few days, as a one of the measures of social distancing to prevent the spread of Corona.
After the cabinet meeting, the chief minister said that the government has not decided to shut any public transport. “We are concerned that the coronavirus must not be allowed to spread from Phase II to Phase III at any cost,” he said.
The state currently has 40 COVID-19 positive cases as one more patient in Mumbai was found to be positive on Tuesday. There was one death of a 64-year-old coronavirus patient, who passed away at Mumbai’s Kasturba Hospital, on Tuesday.