While coronavirus cases in India rises, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday held a video conference with chief ministers. During the meeting PM Modi told the chief ministers that he will available 24x7 during the time of crisis.
The initial visuals of the meeting showed Modi wearing a white mask during the interaction which was among others attended by chief ministers -- Amrinder Singh (Punjab), Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), Uddhav Thackeray (Maharashtra), Yogi Adityanath (Uttar Pradesh), Manohar Lal (Haryana), K Chandrashekhar Rao (Telangana) and Nitish kumar (Bihar).
During the meeting PM Modi took feedback from chief ministers on whether the 21-day nationwide lockdown be extended beyond April 14 to stem the tide of the infections. In the meeting, chief ministers of Punjab and Delhi suggested to extend the lockdown.
According to a report by NDTV, during the meeting, PM Modi told the chief ministers that he is available 24x7 during this crisis. "I am available 24x7. Any chief minister can speak to me and give suggestions (on COVID-19) anytime. We should stand together shoulder-to-shoulder," said the Prime Minister.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday recommended extension of the national lockdown by at least a fortnight, while suggesting a slew of health and relief measures to the people in the state's COVID-19 battle.
On the other hand, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal during the video conferencing meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised on extending the nationwide lockdown and said the decision should be taken at the national level. According to Aam aadmi Party (AAP) leader, "The decision to continue the lockdown should be taken at a national level."
The video conference, which began at 11am, comes amidst indications that the central government may extend the nationwide lockdown with some possible relaxations even as Punjab and Odisha have already announced extending the lockdown beyond April 14 when the current spell of 21-day shutdown across the country ends on Tuesday.
The Union Home Ministry has sought views of state governments on various aspects, including whether more categories of people and services need to be exempted. In the current lockdown only essential services are exempted. This is for the second time the prime minister is interacting with the chief ministers via video link after the lockdown was imposed. During his April 2 interaction with chief ministers, Modi had pitched for a "staggered" exit from the ongoing lockdown.
(Inputs from Agencies)