In a meeting with his senior Cabinet colleagues on Thursday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray discussed extending the lockdown in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and cities like Pune, Malegaon and Aurangabad till May 31. He also asked the state administration to submit a report on what activities can be allowed outside containment zones in cities that fall in the red zone.
Uddhav chaired the meeting to discuss the way ahead after May 17, when the current nationwide lockdown ends. The meeting was attended by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil, Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat, Industries Minister Subhash Desai and Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde at Old Mayor bungalow in Dadar.
Maintaining that the lockdown would be extended in these areas, a senior minister said: “We discussed what relaxations can be given and what measures should be taken in red zones or hotspot areas such as Mumbai, Pune, Thane, Malegoan and Aurangabad. We all agreed to extend the lockdown in these areas till May 31, as saving the lives of the people is the priority.”
Last week, in a meeting with all party leaders, Uddhav had indicated that the lockdown may be extended until May end to prevent the spread of Covid-19. He had also spoken in favour of extending the lockdown during a video conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday.
Another minister said they all suggested how economic activities can be resumed. “I said that we have given permission to 68,000 industrial units till yesterday and around 47,000 units have started their operations, employing 9.5 lakh labourers. This is the status of the industrial units in orange and green zones. Industrial operations are increasing and will gradually reach normal proportions,” Industries Minister Subhash Desai told The Indian Express.
He added that it was discussed whether any activity can be allowed outside the containment zones in red zones. “The administration has been instructed to submit a report on what activities can be allowed. We will meet in a day or two after the report is submitted,” said Desai.
The minister further said that some activities can be allowed outside containment zones as despite being in the red zone, permission had been given for resumption of activities at SEEPZ, a special economic zone, and at BKC’s diamond market in Mumbai.
Another minister said that the consensus at the meeting was for granting some relaxations from May 18, as the resumption of economic activities is also important along with fighting Covid-19 crisis. “But we will wait for the Union government’s guidelines before taking a call,” said the minister, adding that increasing revenue generation was also discussed.