Ashok Chavan, Jayant Patil, CM and Ajit Pawar
Ashok Chavan, Jayant Patil, CM and Ajit Pawar

Amid rising coronavirus positive cases in the state, the Maharashtra Government has taken a decision to extend the lockdown up to May 31. The decision was unanimously taken at the meeting of Maha Vikas Aghadi partners chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray held on Thursday afternoon. State government will send its views to the Prime Minister’s Office by May 15.

The government’s decision is crucial as the progressive coronavirus positive cases have marked 25,000 mark with 975 deaths while 5547 discharged so far.

A senior Minister told FPJ: “There was unanimous view that the lockdown needs to be extended after May 17 up to May 31. The special focus will be given on strict implementation of lockdown norms in red zone and containment areas while further relaxations will be given in orange and green zones in the state. The objective is to get the economy rolling.’’ He informed that the industries department has already launched massive exercise to attract investments especially from China, Taiwan, US, UK, Germany, Japan and South Korea post COVID 19 pandemic and thereby revive the economy which has been badly affected by the coronavirus crisis.

Of the 36 districts, 14 fell in the red zone, 16 in orange and 6 in green zone. There are 43,000 villages across the state and the virus impact is limited to few hundred villages.

Already more than 40,000 industrial units with 7 lakh farmers have resumed production while Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation has received more than 60,000 self-certifications to restart the manufacturing in orange and green zones. MIDC has carved out 40,000 hectare of land to implement plug and play policy where in the investor can take the land on rent or lease basis and they can set up unit in the shed to be built by MIDC or establish factory on land in the shortest possible period.

MVA partners decided to provide further relaxations to expedite the kharif related works and smooth transportation of farm inputs and equipment in the orange and green zone and outside the containment areas. Moreover, the government will focus on improvement in supply chain in agriculture as well as for industries.

The opening up economy is required as the state government’s revenue shortfall after the lockdown is Rs 1.40 lakh crore while the collection of GST, which is a major source of revenue, is expected to be 40%.

Thackeray at the MVA meeting categorically pointed out that Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad, Malegaon, Jalgaon, Aurangabad and Nagpur continue to areas of concern. He informed that he has already directed the divisional administration and district collectors to step up tracing, tracking, testing and treatment so that these areas will be converted into green zone. He has already warned that the government will not tolerate lethargy or lapses in the implementation of coronavirus cluster policy and containment strategy.

Thackeray also informed that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and public health department have been given an ambitious target of bringing normalcy by May end. This is crucial as the union health ministry joint secretary Luv Agarwal in his presentation to Thackeray and BMC on May 7 had estimated that the coronavirus positive cases will surge to 41,000 by May 27 when BMC will face shortfall on health infrastructure including ICU beds, oxygen, quarantine and isolation centres.

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