From Covid-19 lockdown extension to exit, what chief ministers told PM Modi

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent
Apr 11, 2020 07:32 PM IST

Several chief ministers advised the prime minister against any relaxation while extending the national lockdown, some others sought limited resumption of economic activity without compromising on coronavirus containment measures.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a virtual meeting of chief ministers on Saturday to decide on the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown that ends on April 14. PM Modi didn’t elaborate on the mechanics of the plan that he had in mind but spent most of the meeting listening the chief ministers. A statement by the Prime Minister’s Office later said chief ministers of most states were in the favour of extending the lockdown. Some also spoke about allowing the resumption of economic activities in a manner that is not counter-productive to the united fight against the coronavirus disease. The prime minister has also indicated that the government’s motto had changed in the last two weeks from ‘Jaan hai to Jahaan hai’ (life is above all) to ‘Jaan bhi, jahaan bhi” (lives and livelihoods, both matter).

Chief ministers gave their suggestions to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue of lockdown extension.(ANI Photo)
Chief ministers gave their suggestions to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue of lockdown extension.(ANI Photo)

Several chief ministers spoke their mind on the Covid-19 pandemic and how their state intended to move forward.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said that PM had decided to extend the lockdown and added that it was the right decision to make.

“PM has taken the correct decision to extend lockdown. Today, India’s position is better than many developed countries because we started lockdown early. If it is stopped now, all gains would be lost. To consolidate, it is imp to extend it,” he twitted.

Karnataka’s BS Yediyurappa said PM Modi “told us that we must not compromise on lockdown and we are receiving suggestions for extending it for next 15 days”. According to news agency ANI, Yediyurappa said the prime minister had told them that the central government will announce guidelines for next 15 days in a day or two.

Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said that while PM had spoken about extending the lockdown, “it could be relaxed in some places and made more stringent in some others”. She added that her government was on the “same page” as the prime minister.

“We are also on the same page with PM, want lockdown extended till April 30,” she said, according to PTI.

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, who heads the state with the most number of coronavirus cases in the country, said he had informed PM Modi that his state will extend the lockdown till April 30.

Puducherry CM Narayanasamy said that while PM Modi agreed with the majority view to extend the lockdown, he also spoke of a graded resumption in commercial activity in some sectors of the economy.

“PM felt farm activity should continue and said guidelines would be issued by Centre on the construction industry in a graded manner,” Narayanasamy said.

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Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel suggested that the restriction on the interstate road, rail and air travel should continue. However, he sought resumption of economic activity within the borders of the state.

Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy is reported to be one among the very few heads of states to have demanded that the lockdown be confined only to the ‘red zones’ that have reported a large number of Covid-19 positive cases.

“While I support the steps being taken by the Centre to contain the Covid-19 situation, I also feel that the wheel of the economy should continue to run, if not with full speed, but to the extent of providing basic necessities to people,” Jagan said.

Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao was not in favour of any relaxations and sought an extension to the nationwide lockdown for two more weeks.

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“The lockdown has helped contain the spread of the virus to a large extent and there is no other way but to extend it for another two weeks to flatten the curve,” KCR said.

Similarly, Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh asked the PM to extend the national lockdown. Punjab has already decided to extend the restrictions for another fortnight.

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