Maharashtra government to push Centre for funds, supply of PPE, aid to migrantsUpdated: Apr 27, 2020, 23:18 IST
Though Maharashtra chief minister (CM) Uddhav Thackeray did not get an opportunity to speak during Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi’s video conference with chief ministers of states on Monday, the Maharashtra government has decided to push its demands for financial aid, special trains for migrants and adequate personal protection equipment (PPE) kits from the Centre.
The state government will also clarify its stand on extension of the lockdown after the second phase of the restrictions ends on May 3. “Since the PM has hinted at the continuation of the restrictions in heavily affected Covid-19 areas, and the state agrees, there should not be any problem in deciding over it. We will wait till the Union cabinet meeting on Wednesday before deciding the state level by the end of the week,” said a state official.
Home minister Anil Deshmukh said that the lockdown will have to be extended for red zones like Mumbai, Pune, Malegaon, and Nagpur. “But the final decision will be taken by the high-power committee headed by the chief minister,” he said.
According to a state government official, Thackeray was expected to raise issues of financial assistance, supply of PPE kits, and aid to stranded workers from other states during the video conference with the PM.
“The Maharashtra CM has been speaking to the PM and other ministers, including home and health ministers regularly. We have raised many issues with the Centre time and again. They will be discussed again before the Union cabinet’s scheduled meeting,” said a senior government official.
Maharashtra has already demanded financial assistance of ₹50,000 crore to be released over the next five months, amid the drop in state revenue due to the lockdown. A finance department official said that the CM and deputy CM Ajit Pawar have already written to the Centre about receiving the financial aid at the earliest.
The state cabinet on Monday decided to push for central assistance and a few relaxations from the Reserve Bank of India. It also discussed the possibility of making jobs available for migrant workers at construction sites and factories that started operating from April 20. “In case the Centre does not respond positively to the plans to arrange their transportation, this could be an option for us,” said a cabinet minister, requesting anonymity.
“We have also been demanding adequate supply of the PPE kits for doctors and medical staff treating Covid-19 patients. In Mumbai alone, we need more than 35,000 kits a week and the municipal corporation has been arranging them from the domestic market. We have also sought clarity on the usage and manufacturing of these kits,” said the official.