AGENCIES, New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held a meeting with chief ministers of different states through video conference on the Covid-19 lockdown. Except Meghalaya and Himachal Pradesh, all other states were in favour of lifting the Covid-19 lockdown.
While all chief ministers were present at the meeting, the fourth between PM Modi and the CMs on the coronavirus pandemic since March 20, nine of them got to speak due to time constraints. These were chief ministers of Meghalaya, Mizoram, Puducherry, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, Bihar, Gujarat and Haryana. Other chief ministers were asked to send their submissions in writing.
The first to speak was Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma who said that the state will continue with lockdown beyond May 3 with restrictions on inter-state and inter-district movement. However, essential services and travel due to medical emergency will be allowed, he said.
Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga talked about how religious they have become during the lockdown and will go buy what the Centre decides.
Puducherry Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy sought Centre’s intervention for providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and other medical equipment for the state’s healthcare warriors. He also expressed willingness to start industries when the lockdown ends on May 3, and sought financial aid from Government of India to fight Covid-19.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said that business and trade activities should start in a phase wise manner, with focus on all precautionary measures. “We should look towards easing people’s life by turning the situation to normal. Economic revival is key to moving forward,” Rawat said at the meeting. He also said that Uttarakhand, which is a tourism and pilgrimage destination, has been greatly affected by the lockdown.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur said that the state government is now in a position to start economic activities. “However, lockdown should continue considering with the issue with other states as well.”
Union health minister Harsh Vardhan had said on Sunday that there were 300 disease-free districts in the country and another 297 districts did not have any hotspots or small areas having more than five cases. He had said that only 127 districts in the country have Covid-19 red zones. The Union health minister had said this indicated that the disease has been contained largely to hotspots.
On Saturday, cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba held a meeting with state chief secretaries, in which he indicated that there is a need to focus on containment, even while relaxing restrictions further, hinting at the Centre’s broad strategy after the lockdown.