The government of Maharashtra has decided to extend the current lockdown till 30 April 2020. However, according to reports, the government may give some relaxations to areas less affected by COIVD-19. The central government has also extended the lockdown till 3 May with the caveat that some relaxation may be allowed after 20 April. A detailed guideline on how lockdown relaxation will be implemented will be issued by the central government on 15 April 2020.
Meanwhile, various local media reports suggest that the Maharashtra state government is looking to divide the state into three zones – red, orange, and green. Rajesh Tope, minister of health, the government of Maharashtra, on 13 April 2020, said that the division, based on the number of COVID-19 cases, could be done to identify areas where economic activities can be resumed.
The state government is likely to identify green zones as those areas where no cases have been reported so far. Orange zones would be those areas where there have been less than 15 positive cases, and red zones would be areas where more than 15 cases have been reported.
According to Tope, Bhandara, Gadhchiroli, Chandrapur, Wardha, Parbhani, Nanded, Nandurbar, and Solapur districts have recorded no cases and could fall in the green zone. Amravati, Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Kolhapur, Satara, Osmanabad, Hingoli, Jalna, Washim, Beed, Dhule, Gondhiya, Yavatmal districts can come under the orange zone. Mumbai city, Mumbai suburban, Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Aurangabad, Pune, Sangli, Nashik, Ahmednagar and Raigad districts would be in the red zone, as they have a high number of cases.
Limited industrial activities could be allowed to start in the green and orange zones. The government of Maharashtra may allow micro, small and medium industries in these two zones provided they continue to follow social distancing. However, a clearer picture will emerge after the central government issues guidelines come out on 15 April.
Impact on the printing and packaging industry not clear
Since major industrial areas of the state fall in the red zone, it is still unclear what impact the new guidelines will have on the printing and packaging industry in Maharashtra.
As previously reported by Packaging South Asia, some important companies in the state have not been operational since the lockdown started on 25 March. Mumbai-based Mudrika Labels is completely shut while another Mumbai-based company JK Labels is also not functioning.
Also, as previously reported by Packaging South Asia, Bobst India’s plant near Pune is also shut since 23 March. Essel Propak, however, by taking extensive precautions and as an essential services operation, has been running its plant in Vapi, although not at full capacity.