Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Deputy CM Ajit Pawar
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Deputy CM Ajit Pawar
(PTI Photo/Shashank Parade)

Mumbai: Both Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his deputy Ajit Pawar have warned citizens not to take the lockdown lightly. They said if a section continues with its behaviour of non-compliance with the guidelines during this period of crisis, the government may be forced to take harsh decisions.

While the chief minister said the government may withdraw its decision to allow groceries and essential goods shops to remain open 24x7, the deputy chief minister said offences will be registered against those who violate the lockdown norms. Despite government orders, many people are seen crowding markets and shops, and some are still seen travelling around without any concern.

Thackeray said that the present situation is like an emergency and therefore he expects everyone to cooperate with the government, doctors, paramedics, and the police to help them in discharge of their duties. "People should not force the police to get even more firm during the lockdown. Do not unnecessarily argue with police officials,” he said.

Pawar warned that the government will no longer tolerate a casual approach and irresponsible behaviour by citizens. If they continue to behave the way they have been doing thus far, they will not be spared. Pawar gave an example of a trader from Amaravati in the Vidarbha region.

“The trader and his five family members, despite being diagnosed as coronavirus positive, travelled in the railways posing threat to the lives of others. This is highly irresponsible and such behaviour will not be tolerated.”

“We together can save the state from entering into the third phase by strictly following the lockdown advisories, especially by not venturing out of homes. We can curb the spread if people avoid gatherings, positive patients remain in isolation wards and those under home quarantine do not venture out during this period,” said Pawar.

In his social media address, Thackeray referred to many migrant labourers marching towards their homes saying the government has already started 163 centres to provide food and water to them. He reiterated his appeal to migrants and the people from other states to not to leave but stay wherever they are.

He assured them all possible help from the government. “The state will protect them and provide them food, but they should not leave their place. I understand that they are anxious, but they should not leave.

They should avoid increasing the risk of infection,’’ he said. The CM also asked the sugar factories to take adequate care of their employees and the cane cutters. He informed that the ‘Shiv Bhojan’ scheme that offers a meal at Rs 10 will be available at Rs 5 from April 1 for three months.

Thackeray also cautioned about the possibility of a rise in pneumonia cases in the coming days. "We need to take extra care of senior citizens, children and pregnant women, who are vulnerable to coronavirus," the chief minister said.

“I have been in talks with several leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and even with my cousin (Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief) Raj Thackeray.

I am thankful to them for their support," he said. “We have almost completed eight days of the lockdown; now, we need to complete the remaining days. If we manage to do so, it will be an achievement," he said.

The deputy chief minister said the government has decided to provide free treatment to coronavirus patients in 1000 government and private hospitals under the Mahatma Phule Jan Arogya Scheme.

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