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States with high cases reopened hotels, why no nod for Delhi: Gahlot

Delhi Revenue Minister Kailash Gahlot sent the file to the L-G on Thursday, which includes a list of states that had more active Covid cases and deaths than Delhi as on August 5.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
August 7, 2020 3:17:45 am
Hotels contribute to 8% of Delhi’s GDP and employment, Kailash Gahlot wrote on Thursday. Archive

The Delhi government has sent back the proposal to allow hotels, gyms and weekly markets to reopen again, almost a week after Lt-Governor Anil Baijal rejected the proposal saying that Delhi’s Covid-19 situation was “fragile” and the threat from the virus was “far from over”. Delhi Revenue Minister Kailash Gahlot sent the file to the L-G on Thursday, which includes a list of states that had more active Covid cases and deaths than Delhi as on August 5.

Gahlot wrote: “Hotels and weekly bazaars have been opened up in the entire country. States like UP, Karnataka, etc, which are facing a sudden surge in Covid-19 cases, have also kept hotels and weekly bazaars open… On one hand, the Centre has issued guidelines allowing opening up weekly markets and hotels. On the other hand, the Centre is not permitting them to open up in Delhi. Such contradictory conduct… is not comprehensible.”

Pointing to the active cases and deaths in Delhi on August 5, Gahlot wrote that Maharashtra had 1,45,961 active cases and 334 deaths, Andhra Pradesh had 80,426 active cases and 77 deaths, and Karnataka had 73,957 active cases and 100 deaths, whereas Delhi had 10,072 active cases and 11 deaths.

In Delhi, which has a special status and does not have full statehood, the L-G is the representative of the Centre and also the head of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority.

An official from the L-G office, meanwhile, said over the last two days there has been a slight increase in the number of cases and concerns have been raised.

While the number of cases in Delhi has been in the range of 1,100 to 1,200 per day over the past few weeks, a small uptick was seen Thursday with 1,299 cases being reported.

Last week, the Delhi government announced that reopening of hotels and weekly markets would be allowed. No orders were passed. A call on reopening gyms was not taken. A day later, Baijal struck down the government’s decision. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia then wrote to Home Minister Amit Shah, asking him to direct the L-G to follow the Delhi government’s decision and allow reopening.

In the file, Gahlot wrote on Thursday that hotels contribute to 8% of the state’s GDP and employment and that weekly markets provide livelihood to 5 lakh families, an argument that Sisodia too made in his letter to the Home Minister. “Entire Delhi now wants to work towards its economic recovery and should not be stopped. Delhi showed the way to the country to tackle corona. It will now show the way for economic recovery also,” Gahlot wrote.

Gahlot said Delhiites were conscious of the risk of spread. “But when the Central government is allowing some sectors to be opened in states that have become hotspots of corona, while at the same time it is stopping Delhi from opening up these sectors; when Delhi through its hard work and discipline has been able to control corona so well, Delhiites are asking ‘Why are we being made to suffer? Why is our livelihood under attack?’” he wrote.

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