Two days after announcing his cooperation to the state government’s measures to contain the rise in COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis, on Tuesday, in a letter to the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, urged him to release guidelines that will protect the life and livelihood of the poor. He disapproved of the restrictions imposed under the Break the Chain guidelines to curb the spread of the virus and called upon Thackeray to reconsider them due to growing unrest amongst all sections.
Fadnavis revealed that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had given consent for the imposition of a lockdown only on two days in a conversation with Thackeray. However, he claimed that there is huge resentment amongst people owing to the curbs imposed on the other five days as well. “The restrictions imposed to reduce the COVID-19 cases have caused outrage amongst small businesses and the public. We agreed for a two-day lockdown. However, the manner in which the other five days of the lockdown-like restrictions were imposed has caused great uneasiness in the minds of the people. In some places, people are protesting on the streets. The government has not taken into account various regions while imposing these restrictions. It was nothing, but an undeclared lockdown for a month,” alleged Fadnavis.
He said the interest of small retailers, small shopkeepers, small hotels, barber shops and other components of the economy had been neglected. He reiterated that the state government should talk to people from all strata and issue fresh guidelines. Fadnavis highlighted the discrepancies in the Break the Chain guidelines, saying that garages and spare parts shops are shut despite permitting transportation. While acknowledging the need to stop the COVID-19 spread, he warned against a situation where the very existence of citizens is threatened due to ‘man-made reasons’.
“A new notification on the restrictions should be issued to ensure that the lives and finances of the poor is not affected,’’ said Fadnavis.