Maharashtra extends Covid-19 lockdown till July 31; Cong protests diesel, petrol price hike

Maharashtra extends Covid-19 lockdown till July 31; Cong protests diesel, petrol price hike

The Maharashtra government on Monday extended lockdown in the state till 31 July due to the rising number of coronavirus cases.

Issuing fresh guidelines for what it called “Mission Begin Again”, the Uddhav Thackeray-led government asked officials to enforce measures and necessary restrictions during the extended lockdown to contain the spread of the virus.

The government said that movement for non-essential activities must be restricted within the neighbourhoods, with all necessary prescribed mandatory precautions of wearing masks, social distancing and personal hygiene. 

During this lockdown period, government offices barring emergency, health and medical, treasuries, disaster management and police, will function with up to 15 per cent strength or 15 people, whichever is higher. Private offices can operate with up to 10 per cent strength or 10 people, whichever is more.

All essential shops, e-commerce activity for essential and non-essential items, industrial units which are presently fundtionally and home delivery of food will be permitted.

During a press conference on Sunday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said the unlock process in the state will be gradually implemented to put the economy back on track.

The chief minister asked people not to get complacent in their fight against the virus and urged them to follow all the norms laid out by the government to tackle the pandemic.

Maharashtra has been bearing the maximum brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country having recorded nearly 1.65 lakh confirmed cases and over 7,400 deaths so far. Delhi, which ranks second in the list of worst-hit states in the country, has around 80,000 confirmed cases, less than half of Maharashtra’s total tally.

The number of confirmed novel coronavirus infections across the country stand at 5,48,318 while the total number of casualties due to the virus is at 16,475.

Cong holds protests as diesel, petrol prices rise again after a day’s pause

A day after there was no revision in fuel prices that were increasing continuously for three weeks, state-run oil marketing companies such as Indian Oil Corp. Ltd, Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp on Monday hiked the price of petrol prices by 5 paise a litre to ₹80.43 and that of diesel increased to ₹80.53 (hike of Re 0.13) in Delhi. This is a historic moment because it is for the first time that diesel costs more than petrol in the country. 

Since the daily price revision mechanism resumed on June 7, after a hiatus of 82 days during the lockdown, petrol rates have increased by Rs 9.17 and diesel rose by Rs 11.14 in Delhi. Other cities too witnessed a similar rise in fuel prices.

While the diesel prices have been hiked for the 22nd time since June 7, petrol rates have been raised on 21 occasions.

In an effort to recover the losses incurred during the country-wide lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus, oil companies in India have been revising fuel prices every day. Owing to the restrictions on travel and movement since late March, the lockdown caused fuel demand in the country to nosedive, especially in May and April. 

Meanwhile, the Congress on Monday organised protests in several cities across the country against the increase in fuel prices and demanded immediate roll back of the hike.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi attacked the Modi led government for raising fuel prices 22 times since the lockdown and accused it of extorting people.