Bengal to decide on lockdown relaxations in green, orange zones

Kolkata: Despite the Centre allowing the functioning of certain shops and services to give some respite during the third phase of the lockdown that began on Monday, large parts of West Bengal wore a deserted look as the state government is yet to decide on the relaxations in the green and orange zones.

Shops, barring those selling essential commodities, remained closed and vehicles were off the roads in most parts of the state in the morning.

In the afternoon, a task force led by Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha will decide on the relaxations, including which shops and establishments will be allowed to reopen in the two zones, an official said.

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“However, the complete lockdown will continue in the containment zones,” he said.

There are four red, eight green and 11 orange zones in the state.

“We are waiting for the state government notification before deciding on opening business establishments,” Confederation of West Bengal Trade Unions president Sushil Poddar said.

The association has a membership base of around 10 lakh in the state.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had last week announced a few relaxations and allowed intra-district plying of buses in green and orange zones, with a maximum of 20 passengers in each vehicle.

Bus operators, however, refused to commence services stating it would be economically unviable for them to run vehicles with only 20 passengers.

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Associations of bus operators had earlier said either the state government should give them subsidies for running the buses or it may requisition the vehicles for plying these on different routes.

Meanwhile, liquor outlets have been allowed to reopen only in the green zones in the state from Monday, an official said.

All liquor shops in the state have been shut since March 25 when the nationwide lockdown was imposed.

The state government has not allowed reopening of liquor outlets in the red zones and is still undecided on those in the orange ones, officials said.

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