Mumbai: It is now official: Lockdown in Mumbai and Mumbai suburban, Pune, Thane, Nashik, Palghar, Nagpur, Solapur, Yavartmal, Aurangabad, Satara, Dhule and Jalgaon will not only continue beyond May 3 but the government will strictly implement norms to avoid congregation of people and vehicle movements to avoid spurt in coronavirus cases.
In his web address on the occasion of Maharashtra Day, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray categorically said, ''It is not in our interests to restart normal activities in red zone where numbers of coronavirus cases are gradually increasing daily.'' He explained that red, orange and green zones have been created based on the intensity of cases.
Red zones are like an active volcano, the orange zone is a dormant volcano and the green zone is a spent volcano, which may not burst again. There are 14 districts in red zone, 16 districts in orange zone and six districts in green zone in the state.
'We will have to tread very cautiously in the red zone. You may be aware that initially, we brought down attendance in Mantralaya to 5%. Last week, we planned to increase the attendance to 25% from 5% but had to shut down the complex after few +ve cases were detected,'' said the chief minister.
''In the orange zone, which includes districts with active cases, we are planning to increase activities, barring in some areas. We are gradually removing restrictions in green zones. But, of course, precautions must be taken even in the green zone as mistakes may prove costly, said Thackeray.
He admitted that the economic impact will be massive, unemployment will increase, and jobs will be lost. ''These concerns are partly justified. But, along with finance, priority must be given to the real resource of a nation—its people. Lives of people must be saved, so that we all can extricate the society from this battle,'' said CM. '
'But I want to state empathically, that there were and will be no restrictions on agriculture. I know, the crop season is beginning, and farmers should not face shortage of seeds and fertilisers,'' he added. He also informed that goods transport has been allowed. But, in case of crowding, the restrictions will have to be re-imposed.
On stranded persons, Thackeray said even within Maharashtra, people who had gone to their hometowns, or were out of station for tourism or work, will be allowed to travel, but this will be done only gradually. ''All of them will not be allowed to travel at once. Local district collectors will be consulted, and priorities will be decided before arranging for their transportation back home,'' he noted.