Maharashtra: Government, bureaucracy divided over imposing more restrictions

in spite of the speed COVID-19 Across Maharashtra, the state government is taking a cautious approach when it comes to imposing new restrictions. Sources said the active cases have seen a sharp rise in the last few days, but the state has not issued any restrictions due to differences within the government.

Sources said that while a section of the government and bureaucracy is in favor of imposing more restrictions, another section has opposed it, saying it will have a serious impact on trade and industries.

On Wednesday, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar held a meeting with the state administration and the Kovid-19 Task Force. On Thursday, NCP chief Sharad Pawar held a meeting with Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope and Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Pradeep Vyas to discuss the situation. Tope said after meeting Pawar that there would be no lockdown and enhanced restrictions would be imposed. He said night curfew and weekend lockdown were discussed. Tope said that Sharad Pawar and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will discuss and then the CM will take a final decision, district borders will not be sealed and no restrictions will be imposed on Mumbai local trains.

Sources in the government said there is a difference of opinion on closing gyms, swimming pools, spas and salons, banning malls, shops and establishments and reducing attendance in government and private offices to 50 per cent.

“A section is of the view that gymnasiums, swimming pools, spas and salons are not essential services and should be closed. However, another consideration is that they have suffered huge losses and it would not be right to shut them down,” said an official.

The official said that if attendance in government offices goes down, most employees will treat it as a holiday. “Also, we have no control over private offices. Traders will oppose any kind of ban on the functioning of shops. Also, it can’t happen that we don’t impose any restrictions and don’t allow cases to escalate.”

BMC commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said, “If this trend continues, no more restrictions will be imposed in Mumbai. We will review the situation after a week.

Meanwhile, Chief Secretary Debashish Chakraborty held a meeting with the Chief Minister late on Friday to decide on the further course of action.