Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray spelt out his government’s strategy for the restoration of Maratha quota struck down by the Supreme Court on Wednesday and to effectively tackle the third corona wave. He said the government would continue to fight the legal battle until Maratha reservation was granted. He also spelt out his government’s preparations to combat the virus. Hours after the Supreme Court struck down the 12% quota in education and 13% in government jobs for Marathas, Thackeray, in his address to the citizens said he would seek the intervention of the Prime Minister and President of India for an early decision on quota. “I will send a formal letter on Thursday and if needed, I will lead an all-party delegation to PM over the Maratha quota,’’ he said.
Thackeray said, “We request the Prime Minister and the President to take an immediate decision on the Maratha quota as they took regarding the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir, Shah Bano case, and Atrocities Act. ‘’The Supreme Court has shown us the way and thereby the government will request the Centre to decide the Maratha quota issue on priority basis,” he noted.
Without naming the opposition, CM said the issue need not be politicised but resolved together. “The reaction of some is ‘We won in HC but you could not represent the case properly in SC’. That is not the case. I clearly said we are disappointed but will not stop. I want to thank the Maratha community for the restraint shown by them and their measured reaction to the apex court’s ruling. The fight is not over,” he said.
As far as the pandemic was concerned, Thackeray referred to the prediction made by the Chief Scientific Adviser about the third wave. “The government is fully geared to combat the virus. The imposition of strict restrictions is showing positive results, as there has been a reduction in cases in some districts while they have increased in other districts. The government has launched a massive exercise to strengthen the health infrastructure, improve supply of medicines and oxygen and reduce the stress on our medical and paramedical staff,” he said. There were seven lakh active cases on April 25 and this number had come down, he said.
He said the government had launched ‘Mission Oxygen’, to increase oxygen availability to 3,000MTs from the present 1,700MTs. This would comprise 1,200MTs from within the state and the remainder from supply allocated by the Centre. “The objective is to become self-sufficient in oxygen supply,” he said.
He agreed the supply of Remdesivir from the Centre was improving and hoped the state would receive more.
He reiterated that the state government as prepared to make a one-time payment for the procurement of 12 crore vaccine doses to inoculate nearly 6 crore citizens from the 18-44 years category. He said the government aimed to vaccinate 6 to 7 lakh citizens daily.