Pune: The restrictions on the movement of citizens and vehicles from 9 pm to 5 am daily - known as the 'night curfew' - have been removed in the city. This means that citizens can travel during the night hours too within the city, abiding by all the other norms laid down by the state government.
Under the unlocking phase, the state government under 'Mission Begin Again', has issued new guidelines for the state from August 1 to 31. While many other relaxations in lockdown were clearly stated, the night curfew removal is also an important decision taken by the government.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak in the state, a lockdown was imposed from March 24. Movement of citizens and vehicles was banned for 24 hours in the initial phases of lockdown. Only those engaged in essential and exempted services were allowed to travel and operate their businesses. Later when this strict lockdown was partially lifted, the central and state government gave several relaxations to citizens for the day time activities. The government had not allowed the movement of citizens and vehicles during night hours from 9 pm to 5 am.
Several citizens had criticised the decision of the government to impose a night curfew in the city during the lockdown. Questions were raised on the intent and rationale behind this decision. Administration officials had made it clear that the decision was taken to prevent any unnecessary movement of citizens leading to the spread of coronavirus in any region.
In the recent lockdown relaxation orders issued by the government, there is no mention of this night curfew. This had created confusion in the minds of citizens, but now it has been made clear that the night curfew has been removed and hence the government has not issued any order related to it. This has provided a huge relief to citizens in Pune city. However, police have appealed that citizens should not step out unless for essential purposes.
Speaking to media persons, Pune Police Commissioner Dr K Venkatesham said, "The night curfew has been removed in the city and hence no order has been issued."