Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu
Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu

Amidst the detection of coronavirus positive patients in various states following the Tablighi Jamaat meet in Delhi, the Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday asked the Governors and Lt Governors to advise religious leaders not to hold any congregations and functions. The suggestion in this regard was made by Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray during his dialogue with PM Modi on Thursday.

The VP in his address through video conferencing told them to motivate spiritual and religious leaders to advise their followers to not hold any congregations and observe social distancing norms to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. He also wanted them to focus on the arrangements made to ensure harvesting, storage and procurement of the agriculture produce in their respective states.

He urged them to contact spiritual and religious leaders in their respective regions and advise them to guide their followers to strictly adhere to the guidelines on social distancing and to observe personal hygiene.

Referring to a recent avoidable action which caused widespread adverse impact across the country, the Vice President cautioned the Governors and Lt Governors to treat it as a wake-up call. “No religious congregations should be allowed to take place in your respective states”, he said.

Referring to the harvesting season, Naidu urged them to advise the State agencies to ensure the smooth movement of farm machinery so that the farmers did not face any hardship. He also wanted them to ensure 100 per cent of the procurement of the produce. “That is the need of the hour,” the Vice President observed.

Expressing his concern over the incidents of assault on doctors in some states, Naidu described them as unfortunate and condemnable. He asked the Governors to sensitize the people on the crucial, life-saving role being undertaken by doctors, nurses and other frontline warriors such as sanitary staff and police personnel in the battle against COVID-19. He said that such incidents would have a demoralizing effect on doctors and others.

As many as 35 Governors, Lt Governors and Administrators of States and Union Territories gave an overview of the measures taken in their respective areas to combat COVID-19 pandemic.

Home Ministry Advisory to State:

As the nationwide lockdown entered 10th day, the Union Home Ministry in its advisory to States and UTs has asked them to ensure measures especially for the smooth and uninterrupted farming operations. Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla has asked states and UTs to communicate to all field agencies that there are no curbs on the harvesting and sowing operations but it has to be done by ensuring social distancing.

“Exceptions have been allowed for farming operations by farmers and farm workers, procurement of agricultural productions, operation of Mandis, movement of harvesting and sowing related machinery. However, as per information received, these exceptions have not percolated down at the field level,’’ said Bhalla.

He further urged the States and UTs that the exceptions allowed for the agriculture sector must be communicated to all field agencies with a view to ensure smooth harvesting and sowing operations while maintaining social distancing.

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