Four days before Chief Ministers from across the country meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to talk about the lockdown, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has indicated that he will push for lifting of the lockdown in districts that have no COVID cases.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Baghel said while larger decisions on plane, train and inter-state bus travel should be taken by the Centre, the decision to open up the economy should be left to states, and that while “maybe inter-district travel could be stopped”, activities within a district should see resumption.
Baghel reiterated that Chhattisgarh has had a total of 36 cases, of whom 28 have returned home after being treated, and the eight others are in good health. In the last meeting of the PM with Chief Ministers on April 11, Baghel had asked for decisions on opening up the economy within states to be left to the respective state governments.
Baghel said, “The Centre can take a decision on planes, trains, inter-state buses. But within state boundaries, the state governments should be left to decide. The straightforward thing is that of 28 districts, there are 23 which are in the green zone and don’t have even one case. There are four districts which, if you count to the 27th, it will be one month where there are no new cases. Korba district was in the red zone, but where for one week there has been no new case.”
“Barring that one district, normalcy should return in the 27 other districts. Maybe there should be no permission to go from one district to another, but activities should be conducted within districts… If products are sold, businesses function, that will propel industry. We will have to start this one by one,” the Chief Minister said.
Chief Minister Baghel also said there was not enough financial assistance coming in from the Centre. He said he had written to the Prime Minister, asking for Rs 30,000 crore to restart the economy. “There is the disaster fund that comes every year, which we have received. We have got some GST compensation. Some kits have come. What else has the Centre given…” he said.