Maha: Monuments in Aurangabad to remain shut till April 4

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Aurangabad, Mar 12 (PTI) The district administration on Thursday announced that monuments in Maharashtra's Aurangabad district will remain shut till April 4, in light of the COVID-19 situation.

At the time of declaring a partial lockdown in the district earlier, the authorities had decided to shut the monuments on weekends to prevent crowding.

Aurangabad is home to world heritage sites Ajanta and Ellora Caves, and monuments including Bibi Ka Maqbara and Daultabad (Devgiri) fort.

'This is a hard decision, but considering the viral spread in the district, the administration has decided to keep the historical sites and monuments shut till April 4,' district collector Sunil Chavan said.

However, tourists and tour guides are unhappy with the move.

Sanjeev Sethi (48), a tourist who travelled to Aurangabad from Noida said, 'I drove almost 1,290 km from Noida and all of sudden, I was told that monuments are now shut.' Tourists should have been intimated about the decision in advance, he added.

Rahul Nikam, the president of Ajanta Guides Association said the monuments had been reopened after a long lockdown and the business was yet to pick up.

'There are not more than 40 visitors in everyday and proper social distancing is followed. The administration should revoke the decision,' he said.

As many as 532 persons tested positive for coronavirus in Aurangabad district on Wednesday, taking the tally of infections to 54,439.

The district also registered seven deaths that raised the toll to 1,311.

There are currently 3,515 active cases in the district, he said. PTI AW ARU ARU