Mumbai: Even as one state after another has announced relaxation of lockdown 4.0, the Maharashtra Government is not in a mood to follow the herd amid the spike in coronavirus cases.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, in his web address on Monday, strongly defended the extension of lockdown up to May 31 saying that the government will not remove curbs in red zone but will certainly open up economic activities in orange and green zones, with social distancing norms and other precautions.
Thackeray said the coronavirus pandemic will have to be tackled before the ensuing monsoon season as schools and colleges are slated to open in June.
"We have to ensure that green zones remain green and are not infected. Also have to ensure red turns into green. "People ask me why you are not lifting the lockdown. Imagine if we lift the lockdown, see what happened in the US, the UK and Brazil.
We won't allow that to happen in Maharashtra. This is why no industries will be allowed to open in red zones, said Thackeray. He said if the government allows industries to reopen and corona cases surface among the workers, lockdown will have to be imposed yet again. That will make a mockery of the grim battle that the state has waged against the virus.
Therefore, he argued, why not continue with the lockdown. Thackeray informed that the government has granted approvals to 70,000 industrial units to reopen in orange and green zones of which 50,000 were operational with five lakh workers.
He reiterated that these units have only been allowed to open outside containment and red zones. He appealed to the people to strictly observe self-discipline and not take coronavirus pandemic lightly.
He warned that there will be no venturing out in red zone and containment areas; it just will not be tolerated. Thackeray also said the government will consider allowing shops and establishments to open but only after cautioning the citizens not to rush with their purchases.
Earlier, Mumbai Commissioner of Police Param Bir Singh stated that Mumbai being a red zone is yet to see any relaxation; so, vehicles travelling without valid permission or for a non- emergency, be it day or night, will be impounded. The driver will face strict action. ‘
‘We have set up a 1,000-bed hospital in BKC in just 10-12 days. It will be ready for use in 2-3 days," he said. According to Uddhav, the government has set up 1484 COVID 19 care centres and put up 2.50 lakh beds across the state.
The jumbo facilities are being set up in Mumbai. ‘‘Even if the number of COVID 19 positive patients is rising, the number of discharged patients is also increasing. Lockdown is a pause. The government, however, has yet to break the chain,’’ he noted.
Thackeray said that five lakh migrant workers have been sent back to their native states by trains and buses. He however, appealed to those walking on the roads to stop. He also said that the state government has undertaken the travel cost of the migrants who have been sent to other states. At the same time, he welcomed new investors into state.
‘‘I urge new investors to set up their units in Maharashtra. Over 40,000 acres of land have been reserved and it will be given on rent,’’ he said. He further called upon the ‘’sons of the soil’’ to come forward and help businesses to rebuild, since most of the migrants have gone to their home states.