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Friday, April 23, 2021

Aurangabad scraps lockdown plan: Retired govt officials say lockdown a ‘draconian measure’, should be avoided

Former PCMC Municipal Commissioner Dilip Band said, "Lockdown was not the solution and it can't be a solution to control the situation."

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
March 31, 2021 8:35:36 pm
Late Tuesday evening, Aurangabad District Collector Sunil Chavan announced that proposed lockdown was being postponed. (Express photo by Ashish Kale)

Even as the 10-day proposed lockdown in Aurangabad from Wednesday was scrapped by the district administration, retired senior government officials have strongly opposed any plan to implement a lockdown across the state.

“Lockdown is a draconian measure. It will hit the economy as well the as the poor very hard. The government should not go for such a step,” said Mahesh Zagade, former municipal commissioner of PMC, responding to the decision to scrap the 10-day lockdown in Aurangabad.

Late Tuesday evening, Aurangabad District Collector Sunil Chavan announced that proposed lockdown was being postponed.

“In the last few days, Covid-19 cases are surging in Aurangabad district. The administration has been working 24X7 to contain the situation. To control the spread of the virus, we had decided to impose lockdown for a period of 10 days. However, after a meeting with people’s representatives, we have decided to postpone the lockdown in the interest of the common people. We also received suggestions on this count from top state officials. The government will soon come up with new guidelines…,” he said.

Former PCMC Municipal Commissioner Dilip Band said, “Lockdown was not the solution and it can’t be a solution to control the situation.”

Zagade said, “In a democracy, majority of the people are weak… lockdown will deprive them of their livelihood. It should be remembered that the poor live a hand-to-mouth existence. They depend on their daily bread and a day’s hard work. If you don’t allow them to work, where will their next meal come from.”

Band said after the nationwide lockdown in March last year, the whole of India suffered the consequences. “Maharashtra too suffered heavily. If we impose another lockdown, we can just imagine the consequences. It is indeed a very harsh measure and should be avoided…,” said Band, who has also served as Pune’s divisional commissioner.

Zagade said, “When I was the municipal commissioner of PMC and commissioner at FDA, I used to go directly to the ground to understand what exactly was happening and was able to take appropriate measures. Today, I don’t see municipal commissioners doing that… if they come out of their cabins and travel across the city, they will be able to better understand the problems of the people, which will help them in coming out with better plans…”.

Suggesting that the city should be divided into population units, Zagade said, “If the PMC has 164 wards and 20,000 employees, then a small area or a population unit of say 27,000 people can be handed over to a specific number of employees. They should be tasked to create awareness among the people about Covid-appropriate norms and take action against violators.”

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Band said the state government has issued guidelines and taken several measures to control the coronavirus pandemic situation. “What is required is the strict implementation of the measures to control the spread of the virus. Along with creating awareness, the preventive measures should be implemented rigorously,” he said.

Zagade also sought more involvement of corporators and political parties. “During elections, parties work in an organised manner by having a chain of booth-level works and campaign teams. Similarly, they can galvanise their forces and help the civic administration tackle the Covid situation.”

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