Mamata Banerjee announces slew of relaxations

With multiple crises in the state, we’ve decided to increase State Government workforce capacity from 50% to 70%… In the Private sector, I urge all to stay safe, work indoors as much as possible & to the best of their abilities. Prerogative lies with the respective managements of private entities to decide on workforce capacity & act accordingly.

Mamata Banerjee announces slew of relaxations

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee file image. (Photo: IANS)

Even though the Centre is yet to decide the fate of the existing lockdown, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee today eased several restrictions by announcing reopening of religious places of worship from 1 June and offices from 8 June.

Hundred per cent manpower of tea and jute industry will start operating from 1 June. Schools and ICDS will remain closed during the entire month of June, she said.

Buses will allow passengers to board till all the seats are filled up but wearing gloves and masks is mandatory. Criticising Railways for running the Shramik Special trains in overcrowded and unplanned manner, Miss Banerjee said the state government was bearing the travel expenses of the migrant workers and asked why additional trains couldn’t be run instead of crowding passengers together.


“In the name of running Shramik Special trains, Railways is running Corona Special. Even workers without infection are getting infected because they are coming in such crowded manner. If thousands of people can travel ignoring social distancing norms then why should temples, mosques, churches and gurdwaras remain shut?” Miss Banerjee questioned.

She said that five to six lakh workers have already reached the state and many of them are infected as a result of which the coronavirus case count has increased.

Another high single-day surge in coronavirus cases was recorded today with 277 new infections taking the total Covid-19 tally to 4,536 in the state.

Seven people died due to the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll to 230.

The majority of the cases are from Kolkata, followed by North 24-Pargans, Howrah and North Dinajpur.

Miss Banerjee said temples, mosques, churches and gurdwaras would reopen from 10 a.m. on 1 June. Not more than 10 people can enter these places at a time for offering prayer, she said, adding that there would be no mass gatherings or festivals.

Before entering, devotees have to sanitise their hands, she said. All private, government and public sector offices can become operational from 8 June, though offices in containment zones would have to contact police for necessary instructions.

Bus services have already resumed and instead of 20 passengers, commuters would be allowed to board buses till all seats are filled up.

Standing is not allowed, she said. Wearing gloves and masks is mandatory and passengers would have to sanitise their hands. Miss Banerjee asked shops to reopen slowly and said hawkers would be able to operate on alternative days.