New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a virtual meet with Chief Ministers Monday, said while his government's efforts were for everyone to stay where they are in the fight against the spread of coronavirus, certain decisions had to be changed because it was ‘human nature’ to want to go home.
His fifth such consultation revolves around a plan for life after May 17, when the nationwide lockdown is due to end after its second extension. "Before taking a considered view, this time we decided to invite all chief ministers to speak," said the PM in his opening remarks.
He also stressed that rural India should remain free from the pandemic. Yesterday, the government took a major step by allowing limited passenger train services from Tuesday, for which online bookings started today.
Meanwhile, Mamata Banerjee, one of the first to speak, reportedly attacked the Centre saying it was "using coronavirus as an excuse" to play politics. "This is not the time to do politics, don't bulldoze the federal structure," the Bengal Chief Minister said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said economic activities should resume in the capital, except in coronavirus containment zones which are in strict lockdown to check the spread of the virus.
Whereas, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palanisamy urged PM Modi not to resume flights and trains this month. Tamil Nadu, especially Chennai, has seen a surge in coronavirus cases, he said.
On the other hand, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy said it was important to reopen agricultural markets, public transport, markets and shopping malls with some SOPs to prevent infections. "Normalcy will revive the economy," Jagan Reddy reportedly said.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan recommended that rail, road and air traffic be allowed with restrictions and metro travel be allowed in the least affected parts of the state. "The state government should be given adequate flexibility to allow public transport subject to virus protocols," Vijayan said.
Chief Ministers like Punjab's Amarinder Singh demanded that in case of a graded exit from the lockdown based on red, orange and green zones, state administrations must be allowed to decide where restrictions could be eased.
All states raised concerns about the crisis for thousands of migrants, stranded because of the lockdown since March-end. Migrants left jobless and without food or shelter walking home thousands of kilometres away has been one of the most compelling sights during the shutdown.
Even after special trains started running from states to take migrants, students and others home, the desperation has not ended for many.
Economic measures to help migrants, small and medium industries and to help revive consumption were also discussed.
Though the number of cases showed the biggest jump on Monday, India also has a significantly improved recovery rate of 31 per cent. This morning, the number of coronavirus patients was 67,152 with 4,213 new cases in the last 24 hours.
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