Pune, 2 April 2021: The Mahratta Chamber of Commerce Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA), an Indian business advocacy group based in Pune, has opposed the seven-day ban by the Pune administration on the city bus service of Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML). It has also appealed to the central government to allow COVID vaccination for everyone above 18 years of age.
Sudhir Mehta, President, MCCIA and Prashant Girbane, Director General, MCCIA, stated, “We welcome the decision of no lockdown in Pune. Suspension of PMPML bus service will impact the industry workers with multiple shifts, especially to those who are poor enough to not be able to afford their own cars or bikes. It’s also difficult for smaller companies that do not have the resources to organise or hire private/PMPML vehicles. Hospital staff and eligible citizens travelling for vaccination would also be impacted. We appeal to the administration to run PMPML with all safety precautions like capacity utilisation limits per bus during this period.
Heightened uncertainty has unsettled inter and intra-state migrant labourers, their journeys away from their work locations would be devastating for the recovery process.
Retail and contact-based services sector would be further impacted. The hospitality sector is operating at occupancy levels below affordability for too long.
While we at MCCIA continue to discuss this with the administration, we request the industry members to follow all announced/published protocols to ensure that the administration is not compelled to make it even more stringent.
We also appeal to the Central Government to open up the vaccination for all above 18 years so that the maximum no of the working-age population is protected and is able to contribute economically to the national recovery. Priority must be given to areas like Pune that are most affected by the spread of the pandemic. We are thankful to the administration, hospitals and civil society participants to have demonstrated a coordinated effort under PPCR (Pune Platform For Covid Response) anchored at MCCIA to have vaccinated a record number of citizens on the 1st of April and continuing to target even higher numbers.”
Mehta further added, “Shutting down of PMPML bus services does nothing to reduce the spread of the virus. Only denies livelihood to those who cannot afford other modes of transport. Many nurses cannot drive. Also, many senior citizens use buses to reach vaccination sites.”