Indicating about significant relaxations in lockdown norms after May 17, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel Thursday said that a situation has arose where we just cannot sit at home due to Covid-19 pandemic and that it was necessary to start economic activities in the interest of 6.30 crore Gujaratis’ livelihood.
“Experts in the world are saying that Corona pandemic is going to continue in the world for a long time… Therefore, the interest of 6.30 crore citizens of Gujarat and their livelihood are important. Till now, we have been strictly implementing lockdown… Now a stage has come where we have become acquantained with corona… Now, if business, jobs, agriculture, animal husbandry, labour work continue to be stopped, then not only a person or his family will be in bad condition, but the state’s economic condition will also become very weak. It is not appropriate to let that happen. Relaxations are being given in a phased manner…We are taking steps to encourage economic activities,” said Patel in an interview to a local news channel.
Referring to his visit to a site of six-laning of SG-Highway in Ahmedabad earlier Thursday, Patel also said, “It is necessary that thousands of workers, labourers, contractors start joining work, their livelihood begins, implementation of state’s projects begins. All these economic activities are also necessary. The situation where we just keep staying at homes saying ‘corona corona’ is not going to help… In his address to the nation recently, Prime Minister has also given an indication that Corona IV phase will be in a new form, with relaxations, keeping in mind trade, business and employment.”
Giving one more indication, Patel said, “We need to start economic activities while continuing the fight against corona… it is also important that people stay safe so that corona does not spread further.” He also said that the main condition of allowing any economic activity will be in adherence to rules like social distancing and wearing masks.
Patel said that the Gujarat government will send its blueprint on which activities be allowed after lockdown. He said the Union government will take appropriate decision after considering suggestions from different state governments.
Patel also visited Ahmedabad Civil hospital and held a meeting with top officials there. All public health centres and community health centres in the state are functioning providing services like vaccination and treatment for other illnesses related to heart, kidney and lungs, Patel said, adding that 65% of private clinics in the state are also functional.
Meanwhile, the Opposition Congress reacted strongly against Patel’s statement. President of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee Amit Chavda said, “The situation in Gujarat regarding coronavirus is serious as there are more than 9,000 cases and 566 deaths. For the past 50 days, the Deputy Chief Minister has been sitting in his AC bungalow doing video-conferencing along with state health minister… now they are saying that the people of Gujarat will have to learn to live with coronavirus. What has the government and its officers done for the past 50 days.”
“People’s businesses and livelihood options have been destroyed, migrant workers are forced to walk to their home states and farmers’ livelihood has been ruined… people are dying and they are being harassed. You can’t shrug off your responsibility and say that people will have to start living with coronavirus. I have some questions to the government… what is your strategy post lockdown? What is your preparedness regarding medical infrastructure? What is your strategy to bring the economy on track after people have suffered financial losses? You should talk regarding these rather than giving assurances to people,” he added.
Open up orange, green zones after May 17 to prevent ‘economic infection’: BJP MLA to CM
BJP MLA from Sayajigunj assembly constituency of Vadodara city, Jitendra Sukhadia, has urged Chief Minister Vijay Rupani to ease restrictions in orange and green zones at the end of the third phase of the Covid-19 lockdown on May 17.
In a letter addressed to Rupani, Sukhadia termed the ongoing financial crisis due to the lockdown an ‘Economic Infection’ that could surpass the damage that the ‘coronavirus infection’ will cause the state and the country.
Urging that the lockdown be limited to containment areas and red zones, Sukhadia said it was time for the state to allow businesses to reopen.
The state government, since April 15, has continued a severe lockdown in the city of Vadodara, with the local administration withdrawing its decision to allow independent businesses and shops to open in view of the ongoing pandemic.
“In the interest of the people and safety, all places and events that attract big crowds like malls, multiplexes and cinema houses, sports venues and gardens as well as educational institutions and political and religious gatherings should remain suspended. But small businesses and industrial estates should be allowed to resume activity from May 18. It is also advisable to continue the curfew from 7:00 pm to 7:00 am to prevent any gatherings,” the letter stated.
Sukhadia highlighted the constant complaints received from Covid-19 hospitals in the city regarding the lack of efficient sanitation and housekeeping staff, and suggested that the Covid-19 wards be under direct surveillance of the CM dashboard through CCTV cameras.
Sukhadia also asked for the Chief Minister’s intervention in the cost of treatment decided by private hospitals, stating that some were charging more than “seven star hotels do”.
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