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Bid to step up vaccination coverage: Maharashtra considers restricting govt services for unvaccinated people

Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte said that district collectors have been asked to complete the first dose of all people by November end.

Written by Vishwas Waghmode | Mumbai |
November 12, 2021 12:25:01 am
Sources said that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has given a go-ahead for implementation of such a move to ensure that vaccination coverage increases. (File)

The Maharashtra government is contemplating restricting access to various services, provided by government agencies, for unvaccinated individuals. The move is part of the government’s plan to increase vaccination coverage.

In a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, a discussion was held on replicating the “Aurangabad pattern” of vaccination across the state. The Aurangabad pattern involves restricting services and entry into offices for the people who have not taken a single dose of vaccine.

Sources said that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has given a go-ahead for implementation of such a move to ensure that vaccination coverage increases.

In Aurangabad, the district administration asked ration shops, gas agencies and petrol pumps to supply groceries and fuel only to those people who have taken at least one dose of vaccine against COVID-19. “We have also restricted the entry of people who have not taken a single dose into government and private offices, in MIDC areas, at malls and shopping complexes, at heritage sites and monuments. If the orders are violated, then action of sealing of the establishments will be taken,” said Sunil Chavan, District Collector of Aurangabad.

Subhash Desai, Industries Minister and Guardian Minister for Aurangabad, said that after observing the slow pace of vaccination, the district administration imposed restrictions to speed up the vaccination drive. “On Wednesday, members of the state cabinet demanded that the Aurangabad pattern be implemented across the state,” Desai told The Indian Express.

Sources said that Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar demanded replication of the Aurangabad pattern across the state and that Thackeray has also given his go-ahead.

Chavan further said that the average vaccination of Aurangabad district was around 12,000 till two days ago. “It went up to 21,000 on Wednesday and over 24,000 on Thursday after the imposition of the restrictions. We are working in a mission mode to complete vaccination. The restrictions are a reminder to citizens about the vaccination. Though my way of reminding the citizens is harsh, it is for the welfare and safety of the people and society,” he added.

Till Wednesday, of the total targeted population of 32.24 lakh in Aurangabad, 17.99 lakh people had taken the first dose and 7.47 lakh had taken the second dose.

On Tuesday, Maharashtra crossed the milestone of 10-crore vaccination doses, which includes 6.8 crore people taking the first dose and 3.2 crore taking both doses.

Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte said that district collectors have been asked to complete the first dose of all people by November end. “Our target is that the maximum number of people in the state should take the second dose before Christmas. So that when we enter the new year, we will have a large population fully vaccinated, that will help in creating herd immunity and restricting the spread of the virus,” said Kunte.

He further said that district collectors have been asked to identify local bottlenecks and innovate ways locally to speed up vaccination.

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