Amid an alarming rise in COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday announced the imposition of Section 144 across the state till May 1 i.e, more than five people will not be allowed in public places. He announced a package of Rs 5,476 crore for several beneficiaries which include vendors, auto-rickshaw drivers, house helps, construction workers, etc.
All establishments, public places, activities will remain closed. Essential services--hospitals, banks, insurance offices, pharmacies, groceries, Vegetables Shops, fruit vendors, dairies, bakeries, confectionaries, public transport which includes planes, trains, taxis, autos, and buses, are exempted, their operations will be unrestricted.
Cinema halls, theatres, auditoriums, amusement parks, gyms, sports complexes will closed. Shooting for films, serial, ads will be closed. All shops, malls, shopping centres not performing essential services will also remain closed. Furthermore, all places of worship, schools and colleges, private coaching classes, barbershops, spas, salons, and beauty parlous will also remain shut.
In his live address, Uddhav Thackeray admitted that the medical facilities in the state are falling short and may even crumble in the near future. "We are continuously upgrading our healthcare infrastructure but they are under pressure. There is a shortage of medical oxygen, beds and the demand for Remdesivir has also increased," he said.
The Chief Minister said that the state produces 1200 metric tonnes of oxygen. However, 100% of it is being used currently used to treat COVID-19 patients. He further urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to provide us IAF assistance in the supply of oxygen for medical use from other states. Uddhav also requested the PM to increase the time period to file for GST returns by 2-3 months due to the present crisis. The Centre needs to provide aid to people affected by the pandemic on the lines of aid given for the people affected by natural calamities, Uddhav mentioned.
Uddhav announces package of Rs 5,476 crore:
1. The Shiv Bhojan thali, the staple food scheme for poor, will be free for a month. About two lakh plates will be given.
2. Under Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar Yojana, Shravanbal, and central schemes for widows, senior citizens and disabled, about 35 lakh beneficiaries will be given Rs 1000 for two months.
3. Around 12 lakh construction workers will be given Rs 1500 each.
4. Around 5 lakh vendors will be given Rs 1500 each.
5. Around 12 lakh auto-rickshaw pullers will be given Rs 1500 each.
6. About 12 lakh tribal families will be given Rs 2000 each.
7. About 7 crore beneficiaries will be given 3 kg wheat and 2 kg rice free for a month.
8. Apart from this, a provision of about Rs. 3,300 crore has been made for the management of medical facilities and other arrangements.