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Extend Lockdown Period, But Limit it to Identified Red Zones in Andhra: Jagan to PM Modi

File photo of YS Jagan Mohan Reddy (PTI)

File photo of YS Jagan Mohan Reddy (PTI)

Of the total 676 mandals in Andhra Pradesh, 37 have been identified as red zones and another 44 as orange zones. The remaining 595 were in the green zone which were practically not affected (by the pandemic), Redy said.

Emphasizing that the wheel of the economy should be kept moving, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Saturday wanted the lockdown period extended but limited only to identified red zones in the state where the COVID-19 was prevalent.

"I support your stand that we must take firm and bold steps to contain COVID-19. But at the same time we have to ensure that the wheel of the economy keeps moving, if not at full speed, at least to the sustenance of the people," the chief minister told Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a video conference the latter conducted with all CMs.

Of the total 676 mandals in the state, 37 have been identified as red zones and another 44 as orange zones. The remaining 595 were in the green zone which were practically not affected (by the pandemic), Reddy said, referring to a data analysis by the state government. "In my opinion, lockdown should be limited to these red zones."

While restrictions can be continued in places of public gathering like malls, cinema halls, places of worship, mass transport and schools while continuing with physical distancing measures in all other places," the CM added.

"Thus far, we have been able to contain the disease thanks to God. I hope, wish and pray this pandemic will soon be vanquished and the human race will triumph over this unseen enemy and unprecedented virulence. While I have given my opinion and a brief report on the happenings in our state, I do understand this war could be won only if we function as one unit, with one single strategy," Reddy said.

Jagan told Modi, "I trust your leadership in totality and promised to go with whatever strategy you suggest and make it a success."

The chief minister explained that the ongoing lockdown had a severe impact on the state, particularly on the common man. The agriculture sector contributed 35 per cent of Gross State Domestic Product with a 62 per cent workforce. Inter-state movement of agricultural commodities has come
to an abysmal low, with less than 25 per cent of trucks on the road, he said.

"There is very little storage space available in godowns within the state. We are required to buy paddy, chilli, maize and, going forward, tobacco, banana, papaya and vegetables as there are no other marketing avenues," the CM said.

"Wondering how much can we absorb locally, lakhs of farm families would be pushed into serious destitution if the present situation continued. With lack of storage space and exports curtailed, the aqua sector was also bleeding," he said.

In the industrial sector, only 7,250 of the total of 1,03,986 units were running. "Supply chain disruption, road and rail network
disruption has added to the crisis. While industries are burdened with the weight of fixed costs, not coming down, how do we expect them pay wages
and salaries while not functioning?," Jagan asked.

"Other than all these mentioned, the states revenue sources have totally dried up while expenditure on relief and welfare has drastically shot up. My principle concern has been, and continues to be, the impact of the lockdown on the livelihoods of migrant and daily-wage workers, agriculture, horticulture and aquaculture farmers and the welfare and well-being of every resident of AP," the chief minister said.

Reddy referred to the influenza virus that affected the Indians and lasted for more than two years. "We have to take this into perspective and this is a long-drawn battle that we have to fight. That perspective should always be remembered," he added.