Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami said prohibitory orders under section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) will come into effect from 6pm on Tuesday and will end on March 31. Section 144 prohibits the assembly of five people and above in a public place.
The measures are part of the state governmentâ€™s efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus. A circular issued in this regard highlights the following 7 points.
- Public and private transport vehicles like buses, cabs and autos will not be available during this period. Exemption for emergencies.
- Only essential services like milk, groceries, shops selling vegetables, meat and fish will remain open.
- Barring important and essential departments, other government offices will not function.
- All private establishments including IT companies have been instructed to let their employees work from home. Private hospitals excluded.
- Factories making essential products and exports can continue work with minimal workforce.
- All construction projects barring urgent construction work, will have to stop all work. Workers will have to be paid during this period.
- Hotels can provide delivery services; Amma canteens will remain open.
The Tamil Nadu government had already announced a partial shut down in the state with malls, theatres, big shops, schools and colleges (except medical colleges) closed until March 31.
Public recreational spaces like amusement parks, zoos, museums, public parks have also been closed. Greater Chennai Corporation closed all beaches in the city from 3.00 pm on March 21 until further notice. This includes Marina Beach, Elliots Beach in Besant Nagar, Palavakkam Beach and Thiruvanmiyur Beach.
The State also partially closed its borders with Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh on March 20 until March 31. It was announced that the partial ban, however, will not be applicable to goods transport vehicles carrying essential commodities like milk, petrol, diesel, gas cylinder, medicines and vegetables.
Class 12 State Board exams are expected to end on Tuesday while Class 11 board exams will finish on March 26. Now with the imposition of section 144 it remains to be seen if these exams will be rescheduled. It was recently confirmed by TN Speaker P Dhanapal that the state Assembly sessions will end on March 24. Tamil Nadu has 9 cases of COVID-19, as of March 23. One person was discharged last week after two consecutive tests returned negative.
On Saturday, Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy announced Section 144 in Puducherry Union Territory.