Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, while addressing leaders of various political parties in a meeting via video conference on Thursday, indicated that the lockdown may be extended till the end of May in the red zones, especially the Mumbai and Pune metropolitan regions.
“We managed to control the spread of the infection due to stringent implementation of lockdown. Now, we have to take more care till May-end,” Thackeray said during the interaction on Thursday, adding that it could only be done with everyone’s co-operation.
He said the BMC had set up a large number of isolation centres at BKC, Worli and Race Course to tackle the rising number of cases. The chief minister said the state government has also requested the Army and the Mumbai Port Trust to make available ICU beds.
“We are taking all possible care while transporting migrants to their home states. We will also take proper care before granting permission to people for their transportation within state so that it won’t create any danger in orange and green zones,” he said.
The meeting, held through video-conference, was attended by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Leader of Opposition in Legislative Assembly Devendra Fadnavis, Leader of Opposition in Legislative Council Pravin Darekar, ministers Balasaheb Thorat, Ashok Chavan and Eknath Shinde, MNS chief Raj Thackeray, Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi leader Prakash Ambedkar and leaders from other smaller parties.
An official said such an extension was likely. “Since the number of cases is rising every day, it is likely that the lockdown may be extended till May end,” the official added.
Among the suggestions made was one by MNS chief Raj Thackeray, who said SRPF platoons should be deployed in containment areas especially in Mumbai. Some other leaders spoke of stranded migrants and of the lack of coordination in administration which had resulted in flipflops such as revised orders on the opening of liquor and standalone shops.
Bahujan Vikas Aghadi MLA Hitendra Thakur said, “CM indicated about the extension of lockdown when he said that more care needs to be taken till May end to stop further increase in coronavirus cases.”
Thakur demanded that a few local trains be started for people working in essential services. “There is a lot of crowding in buses that essential service workers use. If a few trains are started in morning and evening, then these people can maintain social distancing and travel safely. Entry on these trains can be given after checking their ID cards,” he added.
Deputy CM Ajit Pawar said the state government has requested the Reserve Bank of India to give crop loans to the farmers who have availed the benefits of the farm loan waiver. “The talks are on with RBI.
Also, the government will ensure that there is no shortage of seeds and fertilisers for the kharif season,” he added.
Meanwhile, Devendra Fadnavis said thousands of migrants could be seen walking to their home states. “The state government should seek more trains from the Centre. It should also give more attention on the health situation in Mumbai and Maharashtra,” said Fadnavis, while extending complete support to the government. The government should ensure better coordination in the administration, he added.