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Weekly mkts rules eased, DDMA call on schools, cinema halls later

The latest DDMA order also clarified that any form of public gatherings such as protests and rallies will continue to be prohibited until further orders

Updated: Oct 02, 2020, 03:26 IST

By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times New Delhi

A view of a crowded marketplace after the Delhi government allowed the reopening of weekly markets, at Pandav Nagar, in New Delhi, in August . (Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has ordered that status quo should be maintained in all activities permitted in the national Capital so far, even as it allowed two weekly markets to be held per day per zone instead of one from Thursday.

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The order, issued by Delhi chief secretary Vijay Dev, on Wednesday night followed the Union home ministry’s guidelines to unlock almost all activities by allowing a graded restart of schools, partial reopening of movie theatres, and large gatherings including political and religious events.

Since these fresh relaxations have been allowed by the Central government from October 15, the Delhi government said a decision on permitting all such activities will be taken in a graded manner and not during a single DDMA meeting.

Clarifying Delhi’s current position after the Centre’s guidelines were released, the DDMA’s latest order stated: “The situation of Covid-19 has been reviewed and it has been decided that status quo in respect of prohibited/permitted activities (including activities on trial basis) may be maintained in NCT of Delhi till 31.10.2020 or further orders, whichever is earlier.”

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“It has also been decided that opening of two weekly markets per day per zone in all three municipal corporations/ New Delhi Municipal Council/Delhi Cantonment Board may be allowed instead of one weekly market per day per zone,” read the order.

Senior officials in chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s office said the government had urged Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal to allow all weekly markets to resume operations in the city.

Baijal is the DDMA chairperson, and Kejriwal it’s vice-chair.

“The proposal was sent to the L-G, but the L-G instead allowed two weekly markets per zone per day. The chief minister was of the view that all weekly markets should now be allowed to open as the people engaged in this activity are already facing a lot of hardships due to the lockdown. Now when everything is opened, they also are demanding resumption of full operations,” said an official on condition of anonymity.

The L-G’s office did not comment on the matter.

The latest DDMA order also clarified that any form of public gatherings such as protests and rallies will continue to be prohibited until further orders.

“It is further directed that all social/academic/sports/entertainment/cultural/religious/political functions/other gatherings and large congregations shall be continued to be prohibited throughout NCT of Delhi,” the order stated.

A senior government official said DDMA will meet in the next few days to review the city’s Covid-19 situation and decide whether movie theatres and, more importantly, educational institutions should be reopened and if yes, how.

“Schools in Delhi have anyway been ordered to stay shut till October 5. So, a decision is likely to be taken within the next four days. Central universities such as Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) will also have to wait for DDMA orders,” said the official on condition of anonymity.

The Centre’s guidelines state that the decision for reopening schools and coaching institutions in a graded manner can be taken by the states/Union Territories after October 15 “in consultation with the respective school/institution management, based on their assessment of the situation”.

However, if students preferred to attend online classes, they would be permitted to do so.

The guidelines said attendance must not be enforced, and must depend entirely on parental consent.

Besides, interstate buses have also not been allowed in Delhi till now despite them being allowed under the Centre’s previous unlock guidelines.

The Central government has permitted all of these activities from October 15, leaving it to the state governments to decide whether they want to implement it or not depending on the prevailing Covid-19 situation.


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