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Maharashtra: Uddhav Thackeray hints at lockdown; meeting with task force tomorrow

On Friday, Health Minister Rajesh Tope had said Maharashtra seemed headed towards a lockdown while Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vijay Wadettiwar said the time for such a step was already here.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: April 10, 2021 10:02:35 pm
Mumbai streetsStreets in Mumbai wear a deserted look on Saturday. (Express photo by Ganesh Shirsekar)

In view of the alarming rise in coronavirus cases in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray Saturday hinted at the imposition of a strict lockdown in the state, some ministers and a senior BJP leader who attended an all-party meeting said.

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said he would hold a meeting on Monday to work out a financial package for the sections of people whose livelihood bear the impact, while his colleague Ashok Chavan stated the “nature, scope and duration of the lockdown will be finalised soon”. “Though no formal decision on a lockdown has been taken at the all-party meeting, the chief minister appears to be in favour of a strict lockdown,” news agency PTI quoted state BJP president Chandrakant Patil as saying while speaking to the media after the virtual meeting, in which the states’s COVID-19 situation was discussed for over two hours.

State minister Nawab Malik said the chief minister will hold meet with the state’s COVID-19 task force on Sunday before taking a decision.

Meanwhile, on the first day of the weekend lockdown imposed across Maharashtra in view of the rising number of Covid-19 cases, streets wore a deserted look in many parts of Mumbai. Police set up barricades at places like Link Road near Ghatkopar bus depot. There were people lining up only in front of wine shops in certain places.

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has permitted citizens, who are eligible to get the Covid jab, to travel only to the vaccination centres and back during lockdown. With all non-essential supply shops shut, S V Road near Andheri Station (West) was empty throughout the day.

Places such as Andheri-Kurla Link Road or Dadar flower market, which witness heavy footfalls during the day, were empty on Saturday.

Mumbai road No traffic at the Andheri-Kurla Link Road (Express photo by Laxman Singh)

On Friday, Health Minister Rajesh Tope had said Maharashtra seemed headed towards a lockdown while Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vijay Wadettiwar said the time for such a step was already here.

The state has reported more than 50,000 Covid-19 cases daily for some time now.

Meanwhile, the Union Health Ministry said on Saturday that 1,45,384 fresh cases were reported in the last 24 hours in the country, a new record high.

Fearing another possibility of total lockdown, migrant workers and their families have been leaving the state to return to their hometowns again. To allay any apprehensions, Maharashtra Labour Minister Hasan Mushrif has requested migrant workers to not leave the state, and assured them that the government has no plans of shutting down industrial production.

“There have been a few instances where migrant labourers have left the state. I request them not to do so and fall prey to rumours,” Labour Minister Hasan Mushrif said after taking charge of the ministry on Wednesday. Under no circumstances will the state government allow the shutting down of factories, industries and businesses in the unorganised sector in this period, he added.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Congress MLA Raosaheb Antapurkar died while undergoing treatment for post-COVID complications at a hospital, party sources said on Saturday.

Antapurkar, who was 64, died at Bombay Hospital on Friday night, they said. He suffered a multi-organ failure and has been on ventilator support since April 1.

(With inputs from PTI)

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