Ajit Pawar Clarifies on COVID-19 Relaxations

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Sunday announced relaxations in Covid-19 restrictions in Pune where traders were miffed with lockdown-like conditions while highlighting different rules for Mumbai and other districts. Now shops in Pune can open till 8 pm and restaurants can provide dine-in services till 10 pm. Ajit, the Guardian Minister of Pune, also hinted at his superiority over state Health Minister Rajesh Tope when it comes to matters related to the city.

“While taking decisions related to Pune I ask the Chief Minister. So if someone asks others (ministers) anything about Pune, they can say that the guardian minister will take a decision after consulting with the CM,” Pawar was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times.

The decision to lift curbs in Pune was taken after Pawar held a Covid-19 review meeting at the city’s Council Hall. While announcing the relaxations, Pawar clearly stated that the government will not hesitate in re-imposing the restrictions if the daily positivity rate crosses 7 per cent.

According to an Indian Express report of Aug 8, Pune currently has a positivity rate of 3.3 percent. Pimpri-Chinchwad, which is the satellite city of Pune, has also been given similar relaxations and its current weekly positivity rate stands at 3.5 per cent.

However, there is no respite for rural areas of Pune where the restrictions have been only brought down from Level-4 to Level-3.

Meanwhile, Pawar also said that the state government recognizes Pune as a single district and not three separate administrative units. He said the geography of Pune is much diversified, adding that the restrictions were lifted after he talked to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

Contrary to Pawar’s statement, the Maharashtra government’s five-level plan had categorically cleared that municipal corporations would be deemed as separate administrative units. Therefore, Pune was spread into Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) and Pune rural.

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