'Janata curfew' to be extended beyond 9 pm in Jharkhand

(Eds: With fresh inputs) Ranchi, Mar 22 (PTI) The Jharkhand government decided to extend 'janata curfew' beyond 9 pm on Sunday to thwart the possibility of some people organising programmes after the completion of the deadline.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had appealed for a 'janata curfew' on Sunday between 7 am and 9 pm as part of social distancing to check the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Appealing to the people to ignore rumours relating to the virus, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren urged the people to stay at home after 9 pm, as they did during the day on Sunday.

'Instructions have been sent to Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police to ensure that no functions or gatherings are organised, ' Soren said.

In a letter to all district Deputy Commissioners and (Senior) Superintendents of Police, Principal Secretary (Health department), Nitin Madan Kulkarni, asked them to ensure that the 'spontaneous' janata curfew is observed beyond 9 pm.

The letter, a copy which was released to the press, said there could be a possibility of some people organising programmes after 9 pm, when the 'janata curfew' was scheduled to end.

A spontaneous response by the people to the prime minister's appeal to observe 'janata curfew' showed empty streets, railway stations and highways across the state.

Only emergency vehicles were plying on the roads, and all shops and markets remained closed.

Meanwhile, passenger trains will remain cancelled till March 31 as part of the nations effort to combat coronavirus pandemic.

Except for a few reservation counters, ticket counters will remain closed till March 31, a press release said here on Sunday.

However, goods trains will run, it said.

The Transport Department had suspended inter-state bus services from Saturday midnight till further orders.

Meanwhile, residents across the state clapped, rang bells, beat utensils, blew conch shells in their balconies, as asked by the prime minister to applaud doctors, health workers and other volunteers in their fight against the virus.

Instructions have been issued to set up isolation wards in all panchayats, the chief minister said in a statement. PTI PVR MM MM