New Delhi: With two days left for the fourth phase of the nationwide coronavirus lockdown to end, Home Minister Amit Shah met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and informed him about the views of all chief ministers on the road ahead.
During the meeting, Shah briefed Modi about the suggestions and the feedback he received from the chief ministers during his telephonic conversations on Thursday, PTI quoted a government official as saying.
The Centre is expected to announce its decision on the lockdown within the next two days even as the number of Covid-19 cases in India climbed to 1,65,799 on Friday, making it the world’s ninth worst-hit country by the coronavirus pandemic. The death toll stood at 4,706.
Interestingly, before the end of earlier phases of lockdown, it was Modi who had interacted with all chief ministers through video conference and sought their views.
During the meeting with the Home Minister, several states suggested further opening of the economy and social life. Karnataka has already written to the Centre for opening of malls and multiplexes from June 1 while Goa is planning to open restaurants beginning Monday. Many states are also nudging the Centre on relaxations for holding religious events as multiple festivals are scheduled in June and July.
“The Home Minister spoke to all Chief Ministers and took stock of the Covid situation in all states. The discussions largely focused on the road ahead. Also part of the discussions were relaxations that would be required in the next phase of the lockdown to further open the economy,” a home ministry official said.
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Friday called for an extended lockdown along with some relaxations. “I spoke to Home Minister Amit Shah over the phone and I feel the lockdown may be extended for 15 more days. However, we demand that there should be some relaxations – restaurants should be allowed with social distancing at 50 per cent capacity. Many people also want gyms to resume,” ANI quoted Sawant as saying.
Meanwhile, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba held a meeting with all states on Covid-19 preparedness, with a special focus on 13 cities which constitute about 70 per cent of the cases in the country.
These cities are Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Thane, Pune, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Indore, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Chengalpattu and Thiruvallur. Chiefs of municipal corporations and district collectors from these cities were present at the meeting along with Chief Secretaries and senior officials of states.
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