On Monday, the Centre has asked all the state governments to make sure the lockdown is strictly followed by all across the country.
While the state governments have placed a shut-down on all inter-state traffic excluding the vehicles carrying essential goods ad commodities but including app inter-city and state transport services (including metro), private vehicles and of its citizens who are not engaged in essential services.
A senior official of the Union Home Ministry said, “The government has told all states to carry this out. Any person or entity found violating the lockdown will be penalised, unless they are going to the hospital or to purchase essential products. Citizens must cooperate with us on this because the spread of the virus must be contained at this stage,”.
In Delhi, the national capital, the DTC (Delhi Transport Corporation) buses will be operating at 25% capacity, those deployed on the government duties, and the essential services said that this move was proving counterproductive as people were taking single-vehicle.
A municipal sweeper was quoted by a leading news agency as saying, “each hour there is one bus. The bus is packed with about 150 odd people. We have to come to do our jobs and have not been asked by authorities to stay away. So, we have no other option but to take that crowded bus”.
The Centre issued strict guidelines which it has asked all the states to implement. Also, an order was given by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to keep wary and not participate in the “spreading misinformation on social media platforms”. The government has said that anybody who will be found doing the same will be penalised under the Information Technology Act.
Just last week, ahead of the Janata Curfew on Sunday and the lockdown which has been implemented since today morning, the Centre had invoked the Epidemic Act 1987, to provide for the prevention of the spread of “dangerous epidemic disease”.
In a high level meeting which was chaired by Rajiv Gauba, Cabinet Secretary with the representatives of the Indian Army, Indo-Tibetan Border Police )ITBP), several ministries and paramilitary forces, states and union territories, they were advised to invoke to provisions of the Act, which also contains the regulations for “dangeroud epidemic diseases”.
On Sunday evening, the Centre issued a notification which stated that as many as 75 districts where the cases of the novel Coronavirus were detected were placed under the lockdown. As of now, the Union Territories and States which are under lockdown either partially or wholly include Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Ladakh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal.
All the passenger trains, including the Indian Railways have been stopped, the inter-state movement has also been restricted to vehicles either transporting essential commodities and private vehicles en-route to the airport (until domestic flights are allowed to land and take off).
The Centre’s Department of Personnel and Training, too, issued orders asking the heads of various departments in the government to come up with a roster from the 23rd March 2020 until 31st March 2020 which enables only those employees rendering essential services, to operate from the offices.