Cabinet defers shutdown of government offices in Maharashtra

Updated: Mar 18, 2020, 08:02 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

Allows private hospitals to treat affected patients; makes provision to create quarantine facilities at hotels across the city, too

Uddhav Thackeray
Uddhav Thackeray

Considering the move to shut down government offices would create further panic, the Cabinet deferred the decision and said it would be reviewed based on need. Sources in the government said that a number of offices, except emergency and medical services, would run on low employee strength.

In another significant decision, the Cabinet allowed private hospitals to treat the affected and also made a provision to create quarantine facilities at hotels where the suspected patients will have to pay much less than the usual room tariff.

After news of the shutdown spread, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray clarified that the government employees had not been granted leave and the offices won't be shut. "Employees should be allowed to work from home wherever possible. Establishments should work with minimum workforce in the offices," he said.

Thackeray added that neither Mumbai's suburban train/Metro services nor bus services would be shut as of now. However, he cautioned that the trains would stop running if commuters didn't stop crowding. "The people should ideally avoid crowding at places and use of public transport," he said.

The Cabinet had discussed the possibility of shutting down government offices, but considering it would lead to panic and would also be a kind of discrimination against the unorganised private sector, which has been left to the mercy of their company owners and individual employers, it decided to review the situation again after a couple of days.

The non-essential government services have been asked to work from home whenever possible.

Health minister Rajesh Tope met top corporate heads and asked them to implement work-from-home. He also urged the industry, pharma, banking and service sector bosses to assist the government in its fight against the pandemic. The companies have agreed to spend their CSR fund to provide quality masks, sanitisers and ventilators to the government.

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