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Views expressed by chief ministers after PM's meet on COVID-19


Press Trust of India New Delhi
Here are some of the views expressed by chief ministers following a meeting the prime minister had with leaders and representatives of states on the fight against the novel coronavirus and the ongoing lockdown:


Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik sought framing of a national standard operating procedure (SOP) for smooth movement of lakhs of people stranded across the country due to the lockdown imposed to combat COVID-19. He highlighted that a large number of students, workers, pilgrims, patients and professionals were stranded in different parts of the country, far away from their homes. Odisha also urged the Centre to take necessary steps to ensure that the workers grounded in different parts of the country are taken care of and looked after by the respective states in order to mitigate their plight.

Tamil Nadu sought more RT-PCR kits from the Centre to ramp up its COVID-19 testing capacity to 10,000 a day from against existing 7,500. Chief Minister K Palaniswami also sought the Centre's nod for making payment of wages by cash to workers under the rural employment guarantee scheme MGNREGA during the lockdown. He said GST compensation for December-January may be released now and demanded a relief package to ease burden on the power sector, support to MSMEs, additional allocation of food grains free of cost for all card ration holders.

Jharkhand has decided not to implement till May 3 the Centre's guidelines giving relaxations to some shops due to a sudden spurt in COVID-19 cases. Chief Minister Hemant Soren said the borders of Ranchi would be sealed to contain the spread of the virus. "We have taken some important decisions to stop the pandemic in view of the sudden rise in coronavirus cases in the state. The government will not implement the central guidelines to give relaxation to some shops," Soren told reporters.

Gujarat favoured a gradual lifting of the coronavirus-enforced lockdown. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said interests of daily wage labourers, small as well as big shop owners and self-earning people should be kept in mind if the lockdown is extended beyond May 3.

Goa suggested extension of the ongoing lockdown beyond May 3. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said he would also write to the prime minister, urging him to extend the shutdown.

Uttarakhand raised the issue of the devastating impact the novel coronavirus has on the tourism sector. "Uttarakhand has been a centre of tourism, especially religious tourism, which has suffered due to the lockdown, Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said. The state is also working on gradually improving the economy. Pharmaceutical and food-processing industries, besides many others, have resumed operations without compromising on the guidelines issued by the Centre.

After the meeting, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan directed state officials to start preparations for the post-lockdown period.

Meghalaya wanted the lockdown in the state to continue beyond May 3 to stem the spread of COVID-19. Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said some relaxations will be introduced in green zones and non-COVID-19 affected districts.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said it would not be possible for the state to bring back students from places like Kota until the directions are suitably amended, as has been done by some other states.

Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy said a majority of the CMs wanted the lockdown to continue after May 3 and asked the PM to adopt a cautious approach while opening it. "Most chief ministers told the prime minister that the lockdown should continue and that some economic activity should be started slowly. The chief ministers were unanimous in telling the prime minister that the way the coronavirus is spreading in the country and cases are rising, there should be a cautious approach in opening the lockdown, and the prime minister should take a call on what needs to be done, he said.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar urged the Centre to take quick steps to remove the uncertainty over the dates for competitive examinations like those for the defence services, the JEE exam for engineering colleges and the NEET for medical courses.

West Bengal said it is in favour of lockdown. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, The Centre is making conflicting statements on lockdown. There is no clarity. We are in favour of lockdown. But the Centre on one hand emphasises on enforcement of the lockdown, and on other hand it issues order to open shops. If you open shops, how would you enforce lockdown? I think the Centre should come out with a clarification.

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First Published: Apr 27 2020 | 8:28 PM IST

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