Section 144 Imposed in Tamil Nadu; DMK Walks Out of TN Assembly
Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) will come into effect from 6pm on Tuesday till 31 April, announced Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami on Monday. Section 144 prohibits the assembly of five people and above in a public place.
Palaniswami announced a slew of measures to contain the spread of coronavirus at the state assembly session today.
As of 23 March, Tamil Nadu has 9 cases of COVID-19 – of which one person was discharged last week.
List of Services Which Will be Shut Till 31 March
- Essential services like milk, groceries, vegetables, chicken, mutton and fish will remain open.
- Only important and essential government departments and other related offices will function.
- Public and private transport vehicles like buses, cabs and autos will not be available.
- Private establishments have been instructed to allow their employees to work from home.
- All construction projects barring urgent construction work, will have to stop work. Factories making essential products can continue to work with minimal workforce.
- Amma canteens, the subsidised state-run canteens, will be open.
- Hotels can operate, but only takeaway services, especially to help the homeless and migrant workers.
- The state has partially closed its borders with Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. Only vehicles transporting essential goods such as medicines, groceries, vegetables, fruits, milk, petrol, diesel and gas cylinder will be allowed.
- Private vehicles will be allowed only if it is a medical emergency or for other unavoidable reasons.
- Halls and mandaps should not take any bookings. All marriages and events with large gatherings should be postponed. Any scheduled marriage can take place but with very few people.
- As per previous orders, educational establishments, (except medical colleges), malls, theatres, big shops, supermarkets, amusement parks, zoos, museums, parks will remain closed.
- Chennai Corporation has already closed the city’s beaches, including Marina Beach, Elliots Beach, Palavakkam Beach and Thiruvanmiyur Beach.
Home Quarantine Stickers for Those Who Have Been Abroad
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami also announced a budget of Rs 500 crore to fight the pandemic in the state.
Private hospitals have been instructed to make sure at least 750 beds are ready for isolation wards.
The operations of all government and private inter-state bus services have also been halted till 31 March.
Chennai Corporation Commissioner G Prakash has stated that a green sticker will be pasted on the 3,000 houses where the residents have been instructed to remain quarantined.
Meanwhile, the opposition party Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and its allies staged a walkout of the Tamil Nadu Assembly demanding adjournment of the House on health and safety grounds.
The ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) carried on with the session and announced it will go on till 31 March, as the country is pushing for a complete lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
DMK President MK Stalin stated,
The decision to boycott was taken considering people's safety and also to facilitate MLAs to be in their respective constituencies, DMK said.
However, they said their repeated pleas to the government to defer the Assembly proceedings went unheeded.
While DMK MLAs rallied for social distancing and the need to stop the spread of the coronavirus, while posing for the cameras, they all stood together in close proximity.
“We are standing by our party president to stay quarantined in the interest of the public. We have been instructed to go back to our respective districts to make arrangements for the people. Erode, Kancheepuram and Chennai will also have to be quarantined, considering the coronavirus pandemic,” said DMK leader Thangam Thennarasu.
The state government will on Monday take a decision on imposing stringent restrictive measures in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Erode districts, which figure among the 80 districts countrywide where the Centre has advised a full lockdown and allowing only essential services to operate.
Janata Curfew Extended
Meanwhile, the state government extended the janata curfew to 5am on Monday and appealed to people to stay quarantined in their homes. Since Sunday, 22 March, several sanitary workers have been deployed to sanitise public places and vehicles at specific check points.