Mah lockdown talk divides MVA leaders
   Date :31-Mar-2021

Mah lockdown _1 &nbs
 
 
MUMBAI :
 
The constituents of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) Government spoke in different voices on Tuesday on the need for a fresh lockdown in Maharashtra with some leaders of the NCP and the Shiv Sena questioning the effectiveness of such strategy against the epidemic. NCP leader and Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said imposing a lockdown is the last option for the State Government. Notably, in view of the rise in fresh COVID-19 cases, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had on Sunday asked officials to prepare a plan for implementation of a lockdown which will have a minimum impact on the economy on the recommendation of the State COVID-19 task force. Maharashtra is witnessing a huge rise in new coronavirus positive cases.
 
The State’s cumulative tally of infections stood at 27,45,518 as on Monday. “Nobody wants a lockdown, not even Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. However, it is the last option before us. There is nothing wrong in considering the lockdown but it would create a lot of problems,” Tope told reporters. Tope’s Cabinet colleague and NCP leader Nawab Malik, questioned the effectiveness of a lockdown in arresting the spread of coronavirus infection. “Imposition of a lockdown will affect the people adversely. We do not want people to suffer,” he said. State PWD (public undertakings) Minister and Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde, whose party heads the tripartite Government, also comprising the Congress, said the measures like a lockdown are not going to help anyone.
 
“We have realised that wearing a mask and maintaining hygiene is the only way to curb the spread of the virus,” he said. Reiterating the BJP’s Opposition to any lockdown, its State unit president Chandrakant Patil said the State Government should first make financial provisions for hawkers and labourers, who he said will suffer the most if a lockdown is clamped again. Senior Congress leader and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday said the Government must compensate for the loss of wages by direct cash transfer in case a lockdown amid a recent surge in COVID-19 cases is ‘inevitable’. He claimed the Centre had imposed a nationwide lockdown last year, in March, without any prior preparation, which impacted the economy of the country and over three crore people were pushed below the poverty line. “So it is important to prepare for the lockdown by taking people into confidence, ensuring minimum impact on the economy and also ensuring how the chain of the virus can be broken,” Chavan said.