Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will visit Pune city within a couple of days to take stock of the Covid-19 response so far and future preparations by the district administration to tackle the infection, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said at a video-conference meeting held in Mumbai with Union minister Prakash Javadekar.
The Covid-19 response in Pune is being supervised by Pawar, who is the guardian minister of the district.
Thackeray has not visited Pune since he became the chief minister of Maharashtra in November last year. Members of opposition parties, including BJP MLA Siddharth Shirole, have accused Thackeray of not paying attention to the city, which is among the worst-affected in the country by the Covid-19 crisis.
At the meeting, Pawar informed Javadekar about the steps being taken in Pune to control the spread of coronavirus. He also told Javadekar that the Covid control work in Pune will be undertaken under a central command to ensure better co-ordination.
“The increase in the number of patients in Pune district is a result of huge increase in testing. The situation in Pune is under control… all the state government and district administration agencies are working on war footing to control the spread of the virus. The bed capacity in the district has been increased to a great extent and three jumbo facilities, which are being created, will add to the capacity,” said Pawar.
“Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will visit Pune in the next two days and it will further boost the fight against Covid-19,” said Pawar.
The meeting was attended by Pune Mayor Murlidhar Mohol, State Health Minister Rajesh Tope, Principal Secretary Pradeep Vyas, Pune Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar, Officer on Special Duty Saurabh Rao, Pune Collector Naval Kishore Ram, PMC Commissioner Vikram Kumar and PCMC Commissioner Shravan Hardikar, among others.
Following a request from Tope, Javadekar promised to try to procure medical staff and equipment from defence institutions based in Pune such as Command Hospitals and the Armed Forces Medical College.
The Centre has decided to provide 100 ventilators to the civic body for the treatment of critical patients, and also urged it to take the help of State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) to implement strict restrictions on the movement of public in containment zones, said Mohol after the meeting.
Mohol said Javadekar was provided detailed information on the current situation in the city and measures taken to control the spread of infection. The Mayor said the state government has decided to contribute 50 per cent of the expenditure for setting up ‘jumbo’ Covid care facilities in the city, while the PMC will incur 25 per cent of the remaining cost, PCMC will bear 12.5 per cent and PMRDA will bear 12.5 per cent.
“I welcome the state government’s contribution… However, the state government should also provide financial support to the civic body, considering its present financial situation,” said Mohol.
The lockdown has badly hit the various streams of revenue generation of the PMC, which was already facing a financial crisis before the pandemic.