Undeterred by the protests of traders and other organisations, the Maharashtra government on Wednesday justified the imposition of the ‘Break the Chain’ restrictions, describing the second wave of Covid-19 as a ‘tsunami’ and saying that breaking the virus chain was the only effective option. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, at a video conference with trade bodies, CAs and company secretaries, made it clear at the outset that the state government was not against them but the curbs had been imposed to combat the virus spread. Thackeray, in his appeal, sought their cooperation in the fight against virus and assured that the government would amend the guidelines after seriously taking into account their suggestions.
Thackeray held a meeting on Tuesday afternoon following outrage from traders across the state and also after the BJP stepped in to flag their issues.
“The situation is alarming. The present crisis is quite serious. The government had no desire to impose a lockdown or restrictions on the businesses and earnings of the workers. The government has strengthened health infrastructure during the year but despite that, it may be inadequate in the wake of rising Covid-19 patients,” said Thackeray. He noted that the government was increasing the pace of vaccination but the stock was now limited. The Centre has already denied the state’s demand to vaccinate those above 25 years of age.
Thackeray referred to the information given by traders that there were lakhs of workers in Mumbai and said that the virus infection was expected to grow because of travel by these workers. “If the government accepts your suggestions, then you will have undertake the vaccination of these workers and employees from the establishments, they being members of the family. Do not use the language of hitting the roads against the state government, as it is not a fight against the government but against the virus,” said the CM.
Further, Thackeray urged traders not to be provoked or become the casualty of instigation by others. “Please recognise who is your friend and who is your foe during the present crisis,’’ he said.
Public Health Department Secretary Pradeep Vyas said that by the end of April, the number of patients were likely to increase to 12 lakh.
The state Covid taskforce member Dr Shashank Joshi said the new variant was spreading fast and was a double mutant. The new variant is quite risky for youths, he said. He reiterated the need for breaking the virus chain on a priority basis.
Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association Viren Shah said Thackeray had assured to sympathetically look into their grievances and suggestions on easing the curbs. “The CM has assured us of a decision in the next two to three days. Traders have assured their cooperation in the state government’s efforts to curb virus infection,” he added.COVID-19 in Maharashtra: Take responsibility of your workers, employees, conduct tests, CM Uddhav Thackeray directs trader associations
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