Amid growing backlash from the opposition BJP, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said that his government will soon reopen places of worship across the state after Diwali and is ready to face any criticism for the welfare of his state till then. The chief minister also urged citizens to avoid burning fire crackers and continue wearing masks during the festive period.
In a public address via video-conferencing, Thackeray said: “We will open the temples and places of worship soon. Let Diwali be over. But even when we open the temples, you can leave your chappals [slippers] outside but not your mask.”
Thackery said he has been deliberately delaying the opening of places of worship as many senior citizens frequent them. “After Diwali, we will prepare the guidelines for opening the temples. Let those criticising me continue to do so. I will face all criticisms for the safety of my Maharashtra.”
While referring to the spike in cases in the national capital, Thackeray said: “Cases in Delhi have increased because of pollution that weakens the respiratory system. We could have banned firecrackers but we are not doing that. You have always listened to me and I know you will continue to do that. Celebrate Diwali, light lamps but avoid firecrackers.”
He added: “Those not wearing masks will be fined. Doctors have said that one infected person without a mask can infect 400 others.”
As many as 150 fatalities were reported from the state on Saturday. Cautioning against a second wave of the virus, he said: “We have to be very cautious. The numbers are on a decline but from what we are seeing in the western countries is that when the second wave comes, it’s not a wave, it’s a tsunami.”
The chief minister also said that the government will not dismantle the Covid centres and hospitals but raised concerns over the shortage of healthcare workers.
“We have opened almost everything and the economic activity is picking up pace. About local trains, we are in talks with the Centre. Piyush Goyal ji has been very cooperative. As we get clearances from the Centre, we will proceed towards starting local trains also,” he added.
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