January 8, 2022 1:21:27 am
In spite of a spurt in Covid-19 cases across Maharashtra, the state government is treading a cautious path over imposing fresh restrictions. While active cases have seen an exponential growth over the last few days, the state has not issued any restrictions due to difference of opinion within the government, said sources.
While a section in the government and bureaucracy is in favour of imposing further restrictions, another section has opposed it, countering that it will have a severe impact on the business and industries, sources said.
On Wednesday, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar held a meeting with the state administration and the Covid-19 task force. On Thursday, NCP chief Sharad Pawar held a meeting with Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope and Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Pradeep Vyas to discuss the situation. Tope, after meeting Pawar, said that there will be no lockdown and augmented restrictions will be imposed. He added that imposing night curfew and weekend lockdown were discussed. Sharad Pawar and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will hold a discussion and then the CM will take a final call, Tope said, adding that district borders will not be sealed and no restrictions would be imposed on Mumbai local trains.
Sources in the government said that there is a difference of opinion on shutting down gymnasiums, swimming pools, spas and saloons, putting restrictions on malls, shops and establishments and reducing attendance to 50 per cent in government and private offices.
“A section is of the view that gymnasiums, swimming pools, spas and salons are not essential services and should be shut down. However, another view is that they have incurred huge losses and it will not be right to shut them down,” said an official.
The official added that if the attendance in government offices is reduced, most employees will treat it as a holiday. “Also, we have no control over private offices. The traders will oppose any restrictions on the functioning of shops. At the same time, it can’t be that we don’t impose any restrictions and allow cases to rise.”
BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said, “If the same trend continues, no more restrictions would be imposed in Mumbai. We will review the situation after a week.’’
Meanwhile, Chief Secretary Debashish Chakrabarty held a late night meeting with the chief minister on Friday to decide further course of action.
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