This is fourth time that the Maharashtra government has taken decision to extend lockdown by another 15 days. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Jayant Patil, Balasaheb Thorat, Eknath Shinde, Subhash Desai and Ashok Chavan collectively took the decision at a meeting. The official notification regarding the extension of lockdown in Maharashtra is likely to come on Friday.
The nationwide shutdown was first enforced from March 25 to April 21 and has been extended twice. The third phase of the lockdown will end on May 17 but Prime Minister Narendra Modi indicated on Tuesday that it will continue with guidelines even beyond the given date. He said the fourth phase of the lockdown will be very different from the earlier three phases. Maharashtra is the worst-hit state in the country with 27,524 COVID-19 cases and 1,019 deaths. Mumbai alone accounts for 16,579 cases and 621 deaths. With Mumbai and Pune being two of the most affected regions in the country, now the state government is thinking about the extension. Both the regions form the backbone of the state’s economy as well as play a key role in Indian economic activity as well. In case the lockdown is extended till June, it is to be seen how Maharashtra government devices a revival plan for the economic activity there.
State health Minister Rajesh Tope told Afternoon Voice, “To bring stability and control the situation amid growing number of COVID19 cases, the extension in lockdown was need of hour. We would be mainly focusing on red zone and containment areas while some relaxations would be granted in orange and green zones in the state. Our prime objective is to get the economy progressing.”
While areas outside red zones may get substantial relaxations, hotspot areas are unlikely to get any relief. Strict lockdown will continue in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), Pune, Solapur, Aurangabad and Malegaon, which have reported the greatest number of cases in the state. However, areas outside hotspots may resume industrial operations and other economic activities so that the impact of the lockdown on state’s economy is minimized.