Prohibitory orders in Valley extended by another week with more restrictions and big finesAnyone obstructing the implementation of Covid-19 Crisis Management Ordinance or violating the restrictions will face a fine of up to Rs500,000 and one year jail or both.
The prohibitory orders in Kathmandu Valley that have been in place since April 29 to contain the spread of Covid-19 have been extended until June 3.
A meeting of chief district officers of Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur on Tuesday made an announcement to extend the lockdown for an additional one week starting from May 28.
Dhundi Prasad Niraula, chief district officer of Lalitpur, said grocery shops and department stores also won’t be allowed to open this time.
All construction work will be halted and vehicles carrying construction materials will not be allowed to operate.
“Each commercial bank will be allowed to open two branches in one district while a development bank can open only one branch. The banks should operate with just 20 percent staff,” said Niraula.
He said the new rules will reduce vehicular traffic movement.
“We are preparing to enforce the restrictions more strictly, and will be announcing a district-wise plan Thursday onwards,” said Niraula.
He said only the shops selling vegetables, dairy products and fruits will be allowed to open till 9am. Until Thursday, groceries will be allowed to open till 10am.
While the District Administration Office, Kathmandu has already published a notice on the extension of prohibitory orders in the district on Tuesday, the Lalitpur and Bhaktapur district administrations have yet to publish such notices.
Prem Prasad Bhattarai, chief district officer at Bhaktapur, said the restrictions in Bhaktapur will be similar to those in Kathmandu.
The notice published by the Kathmandu district administration states that shops and street vendors will not be allowed to sell vegetables on the roadsides. They can sell vegetables only in the places specified by the local authorities. Likewise, vendors will not be allowed to sell goods in open spaces or from push-carts and bicycles. The notice also says that all the passes or permits distributed earlier will be invalid from May 28. Journalists or those who work in media houses will need passes issued by the Press Council or a recommendation letter from their office. Meanwhile, morning or evening walks will be forbidden.
At the meeting, the chiefs of the three districts of the Valley announced to make the new prohibitory orders stricter in line with the new ordinance promulgated last week.
Last week President Bidya Devi Bhandari had promulgated the Covid-19 Crisis Management Ordinance amid an unprecedented surge in new Covid-19 infections and deaths across the country—allowing the government to take various measures to stem the spread of the contagion.
Citing the new ordinance, the Kathmandu district administration on Monday published a notice outlining various stringent punishments including huge monetary fines for individuals and organizations violating the prohibitory orders.
The notice states that anyone obstructing the implementation of the ordinance or violating the restrictions will be liable to a fine of up to Rs500,000 and one year jail or both. The notice also states that anyone violating the protocols set in line with the ordinance can face six months of imprisonment or Rs300,000 fine or both. Similarly, anyone found without a mask in public can be fined Rs100 and those found violating the movement restriction can be fined Rs200.
Officials said the restrictions and fines in all three districts of the Valley will be similar.
However, in Kathmandu, public mobility was tightened from Saturday onwards.
Chief District Officer of Kathmandu Kali Prasad Parajuli in his phone conversation with the Post on Sunday had said the restrictions were tightened in the wake of the latest turn of events in Nepal’s politics. Following the dissolution of parliament by the President on Friday night, the opposition parties are in a protest mode. Parajuli, however, claimed that the new tougher restrictions have more to do with the coronavirus.
He also said any kind of protests in public will not be allowed.
“While the risk of Covid-19 transmission has not subsided yet, we cannot allow protests in the streets,” Parajuli said.
Similarly, Bhattarai, the chief district officer of Bhaktapur, said the authorities will not show any leniency against the restriction violators.
“There will be no compromise on punishment. The rules violators will be made to pay fines on the spot,” said Bhaktapur’s CDO Bhattarai.
This is the third time the Valley authorities have extended the prohibitory orders. But this time the decision to extend the orders was announced two days earlier than the last time.
Lalitpur chief district officer Niraula said the meeting was held earlier to allow more time to the public to make preparations as the restrictions are tougher this time.
In the initial days of the prohibitory orders, groceries were allowed to open twice a day — till 10 in the morning and between 5 and 7 pm in the evening. Even weddings and bratabandha were also allowed with the number of attendees limited to 15. But from Friday, only seven attendees will be allowed in such functions.