NCP president Sharad Pawar on Tuesday held parleys with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray over the current situation triggered by COVID-19 in Maharashtra and suggested ways to bring the states economy back on track by resuming industries and restoring normalcy steadily.
The two leaders had discussed the COVID-19 situation in Maharashtra, which has recorded more than 35,000 cases so far, and mitigation measures late last week also along with several state ministers. At the Tuesday meeting, Pawar stressed that COVID-19 will not get eliminated anytime soon and hence people need to be enlightened about taking care of their health considering the coronavirus will be a part of life now.
The former Union minister observed industries are not in a position to resume activities since workers have migrated to their native places due to the coronavirus-enforced lockdown. Pawar suggested the government should draw a plan for orderly return of workers so that industrial activities can be restarted in Maharashtra, where the lockdown has been extended till May 31.
Held discussions with states honourable chief minister @OfficeofUT on the current situation in the backdrop of the spread of coronavirus, challenges, preventive measures, measures to be taken to give relief to different sections. Made suggestions regarding several issues like transport, education, agriculture, industries, Pawar tweeted after the meeting.
Pawar noted that the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown imposed to contain the disease are likely to cause revenue losses to educational institutes, possibly leading to their collapse. He, therefore, called for setting up a study group or committee to ensure students, teachers and institutes do not suffer and there is no delay in imparting education.
The government has stressed on resumption of industries (by) relaxing lockdown restrictions. But (I) don't think the instructions being issued are adequate.
The industries are not in a position to resume activities since workers from the state and outside of it have migrated to their
villages. It should be planned how they will return, Pawar said on the micro-blogging site.
The NCP chief called for drawing up an action plan to incorporate unemployed Marathi youth in the industrial sector where new opportunities have opened up. The former Maharashtra chief minister called for taking steps to attract new investment in the state.
He insisted on reopening shops, offices and private sector establishments in phases and also stressed on restoring normalcy steadily by relaxing certain lockdown-related conditions. Pawar pitched for increasing attendance of ministers and officials in offices to give confidence to people that the situation in the state is returning to normalcy.
Appropriate orders be issued to ensure ministers and officials are present in their offices, Pawar said, tagging Thackerays office and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.
The NCP chief, whose party is a key constituent in the Shiv Sena-led government, called for consulting experts on increasing import/export and water transport in the country.
He further said that traffic services in the state have been in "disarray" due to the lockdown and suggested taking steps to restore vehicular movement on roads. He called for chalking out a time-bound programme to restore air and rail services. The (novel) coronavirus will not get eliminated this soon. Hence, there is a need to spread awareness among the people on taking care of health, considering corona as part of life, he tweeted.
To drive home his point, Pawar cited example of how people in Japan use masks and maintain personal hygiene even when no transmission of the disease is taking place.
The veteran leader insisted on undertaking mass awareness programme to inform the people on maintaining cleanliness and observing social distancing.