Maha CM Uddhav Thackeray advises caution as state relaxes more curbs
On a day his government granted a slew of relaxations in non-containment zones while extending the latest lockdown till June 30, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said people should tread cautiously while beginning the “new life”.
In his televised address to the state, the CM said the “Mission Begin Again”, the nomenclature chose by the state government for the fifth phase of the lockdown which it extended till June 30, is aimed at restarting lives again.
“The permission for outdoor physical activities, opening of shops and markets, offices is a trial to check on how we shouldmove forward, but we should tread cautiously.
Lockdown should now be thrown into dustbin,” he said.
He said if lockdown is science, lifting it is an art.
Thackeray likened the “Mission begin again” to walking in heavy rains with people holding their hands and walking carefully.
“But even as we begin afresh, we have to take cautious steps,” he said.
Under “Mission Begin Again”, all markets, market areas and shops, except malls, will be allowed to open from June 5 on the odd-even basis in non-containment zones across Maharashtra.
However, religious places, shopping malls, hotels and restaurants will continue to remain closed.
Thackeray also said the prevailing situation is not conducive to allow holding of the final year university exams.
“Aggregate Marks of semester exams will be taken and students will be given marks,” he said.
“I held talks with vice chancellors.I may be the CM and they may be vice chancellors but we all are also parents.
We cannot let our children suffer. Those students who feel they could have done better if they had appeared for the final year exams, they will be given a chance when the situation normalises,” he said.
The state government is more keen to ensure that the academic year starts on time in June than re-opening schools.
“Schools in rural areas where there isno pandemic spread can start whereas in cities online education can be given priority,” he said.
The CM also said that doorstep distribution of newspapers will be allowed from June 7.
Delivery of newspapers was banned in Mumbai and Pune.
He further said the state government’s consistent focus since the last two months has been on curbing the pandemic.
“Ramping up the number of laboratories and testing will be priority,” he said, adding that 28,000 of 65,000 COVID-19 patients in the state have recovered and discharged.
Maharashtra’s COVID-19 case count as on May 31 stands at 67,655 with 2,286 deaths, mainly fuelled by Mumbai’s case count of 39,686 and 1,279 fatalities, which is the highest in the country.
Thackeray listed health and education as the priority areas for his government, saying the Covid-19 pandemic has also taught positive lessons.
Taking a swipe at the Opposition, the CM said he felt bad that attempts are being made to “malign” the image of the state.
Referring to speculations about a survival threat to his tripartite government, Thackeray, who heads the Shiv Sena, said he wasn’t worried since people are backing the ruling dispensation.
Meanwhile, he also appealed to fishermen to not venture into the Arabian sea following the Met department’s observation of a brewing cyclonic storm that could hit the coasts of Maharashtra and Gujarat by June 3.
“People on the west coast should remain alert.
Administration is fully geared up to tackle any eventuality,” he said.