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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

As Aurangabad scraps lockdown plan, top retired officials say lockdown a ‘draconian’ measure

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

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
Updated: March 31, 2021 5:06:44 pm
Pune xovid cases, Pune city news, Covid-19, Pune covid cases surge, Pune infections, Indian expressDuring the Covid-19 lockdown in Pune in March 2020. (Express Photo: Ashish Kale, File)

Even as the 10-day lockdown plan in Aurangabad from Wednesday was scrapped by the district administration, top retired govt officials strongly opposed any idea of a lockdown across the state, as is being planned by the Maha Vikas Aghadi government led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

“Lockdown is a draconian measure. It will hit the economy as well the as poor very hard. The government should not go for such an anti-state and anti-poor step,” said Mahesh Zagade, former municipal commissioner of PMC.

Echoing the views, former PCMC Municipal Commissioner Dilip Band said, “Lockdown was not the solution and it cannot be a solution to control the solution.”

Pointing out that “democracy is for the poor,” Zagade said, “In a democracy, majority of the people are weak. You have to work hard in their interest. You cannot be working against their interest. Lockdown will deprive them of their livelihood. It should be remembered that the poor live hand-to-mouth. They depend on their daily bread from a day’s hard work. If you don’t allow them to work, where will their next meal come from?”

Band said India “suffered” from the first lockdown in March 2020. “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 at best,” said Band, who also served as Pune divisional commissioner.

Slamming the way municipal commissioners in the state function, Zagade said, “When I was the municipal commissioner of PMC and commissioner at FDA, I used to go directly on the ground to understand what exactly was happening. And therefore, was able to take appropriate measures. Today, I don’t see municipal commissioners doing that. They seem to be functioning out of their cosy cabins… if they come out of their cabins and criss-cross the city, they will be able to better understand the problems of the people which will help them in coming out with better plans for the people and the city.”

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Advocating that city should be divided in to population units, Zagade said, “If 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.”

Band said the state government has issued guidelines and taken several measures to control the 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 lamented that there was less involvement of corporators and political parties in tacking the COVID menace. “During elections, parties go in an organised manner by having a chain of booth level works and campaign team, et al. Similarly, they can galvanise their forces and help the civic administration in tackling the COVID situation.”

Late Tuesday evening, Aurangabad district collector Sunil Chavan announced that the proposed lockdown in the city from Wednesday was being postponed till further directions from the state government.

“In the last few days, COVID cases are surging in Aurangabad district. The administration has been working 24×7 to contain the situation. To curb 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 interest of the common people. We also received suggestions on this count from the top state officials. The government will soon come up with new guidelines…and therefore we have postponed our lockdown,” Chavan said.

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