In the wake of the emergence of a possible third wave of COVID-19, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday asked the administration to soon set up a 'Task Force of Industry' which will be monitored by the CM’s Secretariat. Thackeray during his virtual interaction with the industry representatives directed to take necessary measures to ensure that the economic cycle will continue and production will not be disrupted. ‘’Maharashtra should set an example to the nation that industries continue to operate without stopping production during the pandemic,’’ he noted.
Already there is a state Task Force on COVID-19 and Task Force of Pediatrics to suggest the government on measures to combat the pandemic.
Thackeray at length discussed a wide range of issues including oxygen production, planning for its stock, massive vaccination of workers and employees, functioning of units unabated despite imposition of curbs, temporary field accommodation of workers in the company premises, working hours and bio-bubble arrangement to combat the virus.
RPG Group Chairman Harsh Goenka, who was present at the meeting, in a tweet said ‘’CM Uddhav Thackeray emphasised that COVID-19--wave 2 not over and Covid appropriate behavior a must, continuation of economic activity but with precautions, preparations for third wave are on. Vaccinations should be increased especially in private sector & rural areas.’’
Thackeray pointed out that the state produces 1,300 MT oxygen but the demand may surpass even the second wave during the possible third wave. ‘’Therefore, along with the production of oxygen, a large stock of oxygen is required, for which tanks and cylinders are required. Industry can come forward to meet the shortage of oxygen cylinders and also construct liquid medical oxygen plants. Money is available; those tanks should be ready in the shortest possible time for its supply,’’ he said.
CM called upon the industry to vaccinate their workers and employees on a large scale. At present, 25% vaccine doses are reserved for private hospitals which should be widely used.
‘’There are some medicines like Monoclonal Antibodies that are very costly but effective. It is impossible for the government to fund this. If the industry can take care of their employees, the burden on the government can be decreased,’’ said the Public Health Department additional chief secretary Dr Pradeep Vyas.