Updated: May 24, 2020 10:35:18 pm
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said that a sudden lifting of lockdown regulations would be detrimental for the fight against Covid-19 pandemic. He also took a swipe at the economic package announced by the Centre, stating that many a times, fancy looking packages turn out to be nothing but hollow promises.
In a televised speech to the state, Uddhav said: “It was wrong to impose the lockdown suddenly. It will be equally wrong to lift it in one go. We need to be careful while removing restrictions as we try to restore normalcy.”
CM Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray addressing the State https://t.co/YA14xh2GWf
— CMO Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra) May 24, 2020
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On state BJP’s demand for an economic package, Uddhav described the Centre’s fiscal package as nothing but a hollow promise. Uddhav is under fire from the BJP, which has been protesting his handling of the Covid-19 crisis.
“We are being asked why we are not announcing a package? Many packages worth crores have been announced. These packages are packaged well but when you open them, all that you get is an empty box. My government is not the type to make empty promises,” he said, adding that his government was more keen on working and less on advertising its work.
Uddhav also took a swipe at the Centre over its reluctance in operating trains for migrants before announcing the lockdown. “We had been asking for trains from the Centre before the lockdown was implemented. We had told them that we would bear the cost, as the migrants were keen on returning home. Unfortunately, for some reason, the permission was denied. Trains were started only after the dangers increased. The Centre says it will pay 85 per cent of the cost of these train. We are hopeful that we will get this money…. in a way similar to the money that we have received in the past,” he said.
Uddhav claimed that while his government has been seeking 80 trains daily to send migrants back to their respective states, the Centre is sending only 30 to 40 trains daily.
He added that in spite of the Centre not clearing pending dues, his government has refrained from politicising the issue. “The Maharashtra government has not yet received its due GST amount. There are other pending dues from the Centre… We are, however, not politicising these issues. The Centre’s share of the train ticket cost for facilitating transportation of migrant labourers is also yet to be received.”
“There is still shortage of some medicines. Earlier, we did face shortage of PPE kits and other equipment. In spite of all this, we have not politicised these issues and I wish other parties also do not play politics at this time,” he said.
Udddhav said that his government has so far sent back 7 lakh migrants to their respective states in 481 trains, with the the state bearing 100 per cent of the costs – spending Rs 85 crore. He added that similarly, it has spent Rs 75 crore to send 3.8 lakh migrants to their states in buses.
Uddhav maintained that people will have to learn to live with coronavirus, as the number of cases continues to rise in the state. “In the next 15 days, the picture will be clearer in the country because migration has taken place on a large scale,” he said.
(Inputs from PTI)
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