In preparation to fight out the impending third wave of Covid-19, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday asked the administration to swiftly set up a task force of industries. This, he said, will be monitored by the CM’s Secretariat.
During a virtual interaction with industry representatives on taking necessary measures to ensure that the economic cycle continues and production is not disrupted, the CM noted, “Maharashtra should set an example to the nation that industries can continue to operate during the pandemic.”
Earlier, the CM had also set up a state task force of paediatricians to stay prepared for a possible impact on children during the third wave.
On Monday, the CM discussed at length a wide range of issues, including oxygen production, planning for its stock, massive vaccination of workers and employees, functioning of industrial units despite imposition of curbs, temporary field accommodation of workers on company premises, working hours and bio-bubble arrangement to combat the impact of the virus.
RPG chairman Harsh Goenka, who was present at the meeting, later tweeted about the CM emphasising that the second wave of Covid-19 is not yet over and that Covid-appropriate behaviour is a must. “…continuation of economic activity, but with precautions, preparations for third wave are on. Vaccinations should be increased, especially in private sector and rural areas,” Goenka tweeted.
Thackeray pointed out that the state produces 1,300 MT oxygen, but the demand during the third wave may surpass even the second wave. He said, “Therefore, along with the production of oxygen, a large reserve stock of oxygen is required, for which tanks and cylinders would be needed. Industry can come forward to meet the shortage and also construct liquid medical oxygen plants.” He said funds are available and these tanks should be ready in the shortest possible time for supply.
The 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; these should be widely used, he said.
Additional chief secretary from the public health department, Dr Pradeep Vyas said, “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.”