Need to think of economic revival, says Sharad Pawar

Nashik: Amid the coronavirus-induced lockdown, there is need to look into economic revival by resuming activities in Maharashtra's industrial centres, NCP chief and former Union minister Sharad Pawar said on Friday.

He added that a decision on extension of lockdown, in force till July 31, must be made after assessing the ground situation and taking people into confidence, adding that care must be taken to ensure cases don't rise.

"Like the health crisis prevailing now, the country and the state may face a financial crisis too. Pune, Nashik, Aurangabad and Nagpur are important centres of industries in the state. Revival of industries needs to be thought about," Pawar told reporters here after reviewing the outbreak situation in the district. He said migrant workers, who had returned to their native states during the lockdown, are desirous of coming back to Maharashtra, and how they can return must be given a thought.

"There is a need to take care of reviving the state's economy by resuming industrial activities in full capacity in the time to come. We are trying to understand these issues," Pawar said.

The NCP supremo said Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had concentrated for the past few months on tackling the COVID-19 situation.

Pawar said Thackeray paid attention to the situation in Mumbai in particular, which he added, was necessary as it is a big city, and noted the situation has improved in the metropolis.

However, Thackeray will come to Nashik and also wants to visit other parts of the state, Pawar added.

Queried on whether Maharashtra had got benefits from the Centre's Rs 20 lakh crore economic package to fight the downturn due to the outbreak, Pawar said ventilators and PPE kits had been received by the state to some extent.

"But nothing has been added to our knowledge as yet with regard to the package," Pawar said.

He attributed the rise in cases to increase in tests, and added the state health department would increase beds for COVID-19 patients in the days to come.

Pawar said minorities cooperated with the authorities during Ramzan Eid amid the lockdown.

"Malegaon is a good example of it. Hence, I am sure they will continue to cooperate in the time to come too," Pawar tweeted later with a hashtag 'letsfightcoronatogether'.

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