States to adopt different strategies in lockdown-4
Some to focus on revival of economy in ‘green zones’ and re-starting mass transport
Depending on their share of coronavirus and the rate of its growth, States want to adopt different strategies in the lockdown-4 post-May 17 with focus on the revival of economy in “green zones” and re-starting mass transport, including the metro services.
The containment “red zones” will have complete curfew-like enforcement of lockdown and stress would be to help convert them in the “green units” before the end of the next-phase of the lockdown.
Adopting contrasting strategies Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam and Odisha have sought strict continuation of lockdown in all zones with some relaxations for economic activities, but States like Gujarat do not favour the extension of the lockdown despite high spurt of cases in the State.
Congress governed Rajasthan wants economic activity to begin in the “green zone”. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has demanded from the PM that the zone determination for the lockdown be at the State level so that economic activities can be started.
The Prime Minster has hinted that the lockdown-4 could be of “complete new colour” for the purpose of re-activisation of economy. States were asked to submit their respective unit maps depicting red, orange and green areas with Prime Minister’s office by Friday. The current lockdown – the third since it was enforced on March 25 – is scheduled to end on Sunday.
As the Centre prepares to draw a blueprint for the gradual exit from the national lockdown, a number of States are wanting that public transportation, including metro services and flights and restarting of reasonable economic activity in non-containment zones be allowed to bring back the sliding economy back on the rails.
In line with the PM’s advice that nation will have to “learn to live with the coronavirus,” a few States, despite the scare of coronavirus, are for immediate lifting of restrictions on economic activities.
Andhra, for example, has proposed resuming all economic and public activities in non-containment areas. The southern state has 2,137 COVID-19 cases according to Home Ministry data and 11,422 people in quarantine.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, said after receiving feedback from residents, he thought some economic activities should be allowed in Delhi except in containment zones. He called for the lifting of more curbs in Delhi – all of which has been designated a “red zone” to suggest a high-concentration of cases. He also reportedly wants resumption of taxi, auto and metro services.
Kerala, a State that relies heavily on tourism for revenue, wants metro services, local trains, domestic flights, restaurants and hotels to be re-opened.
Karnataka, which has also done well to contain the viral outbreak, has asked the Centre for permission to re-open restaurants, hotels and gymnasiums – public spaces closed weeks ago to encourage social distancing and check the virus’ spread.
Tamil Nadu has also asked for economic activity to be re-started except in containment zones. The request is likely to be viewed with caution, given the State has registered a massive surge in Covid-19 cases over the past few days.
Gujarat, which has 9,591 cases and has reported 586 deaths, wants to resume all economic activity in all major urban centres.
Maharashtra – the State most badly affected – is reluctant to open up too much of the economy or too many offices
Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha have gone the other way, with all three States asking for the strict lockdown to continue. Covid-19 case numbers in these States are climbing, and are set to climb even further, with the return of migrants stranded across the country.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has made it clear the lockdown in his State will be extended to May 31. He also said relaxation of guidelines should be left to district administrations.
Uttar Pradesh is also likely to present a big challenge for the Centre, with the populous state reporting 3,902 positive cases and 88 deaths, so far. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is among those who asked for an extension of the lockdown, stating during the meeting with the PM that “we must have strong lockdown. I will ensure a curfew”.
Assam has also called for an extension of the lockdown.
Haryana may continue lockdown with modifications are likely to continue with its borders are to remain restricted with conditional access. State transport will begin in 10 districts. The State is also planning to resume bus services to only Delhi railway station starting May 18. Industrial and commercial activity will increase in the fourth phase of the lockdown.
In Himachal Pradesh modified curfew with increased commercial activity will be the major focus. State borders will remain closed with restricted entry. Industrial and commercial activity will slowly pick up.
Saturday, 16 May 2020 | PNS | New Delhi
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