Uddhav Thackeray speech LIVE updates: 'People became complacent after the restrictions started easing, which is wrong,' he said, also giving a run-down of COVID-19 figures in the state
Uddhav Thackeray speech LATEST updates: Addressing the state on the COVID-19 situation in Maharashtra currently, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that imposing a lockdown is necessary to cut the chain of the COVID-19 infection.
"People became complacent after the restrictions started easing, which is wrong," he said, also giving a run-down of COVID-19 figures in the state.
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray appealed to people to follow COVID-19 protocol, like wearing masks and keeping distance, on war footing.
"We are fighting a war against COVID-19, but in the absence of a large number of vaccines, the masks and other protocol are our only weapons. Everyone needs to strictly follow restrictions and guidelines," he said.
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray is likely to hold a virtual discussion with people at 7 pm on Sunday, reports said. The event comes amid a sudden surge of COVID-19 cases in several districts of the state.
Authorities in places like Mumbai, Pune, Nasik, Nagpur, Wardha, Yavatmal, Amravati, Akola and Buldhana have tightened restrictions to curb the spike in cases.
The state reported 6,281 fresh cases on Saturday. Thackeray on Saturday reiterated his statement that another lockdown "could be imposed if they failed to keep their behaviour in check" and didn't follow COVID-19 protocols.
The state government has also reportedly decided to approach the Centre for permission to begin the third phase of the vaccination drive earlier than the scheduled date. The third phase of inoculation has been planned for people above the age of 50 and people with comorbidities and is set to begin in March.
The Times of India quoted Maharashtra technical advisor Dr Subhash Salunkhe as saying, “In Maharashtra and Kerala, where there is an increase in cases in pockets, the Centre must start vaccination of those above 50 years and those with comorbidities earlier so that the situation can be in control. When we have a primary tool for prevention and vaccine companies have assured us of adequate production, the Union government should act fast. There is a spurt in cases in pockets of Marathwada and Vidarbha."
Thackeray's interaction with people in the state comes a day after he participated in the virtual meeting of the NITI Aayog, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"There should be healthy competition between states in offering facilities and not in concessions in land or electricity rates to attract investment," Thackeray said on Saturday. He also flagged climate change's impact on the farm sector and called for changes in the Centre's crop insurance scheme.
"Some states offer concessions regarding electricity rates or land prices (to investors). Bargaining takes place...There should certainly be competition but it should not be economic, in terms of concessions. There should be healthy competition in offering administrative efficiency and facilities," he said.
The Union government should frame certain criteria about investment and consideration should be given not only to the amount of money that is going to be invested but also to how much employment it would generate, Thackeray said.
"We need to say 'Jai Kamgar' (victory to workers) apart from Jai Jawan and Jai Kisan. Industrial development should be counted in terms of employment it generates and not just the amount invested," he said.
"Our competition should be with other countries and not amongst ourselves," Thackeray added.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Maharashtra signed MoUs for investment worth Rs 1 lakh crore in the last one year, the chief minister said.
Highlighting the impact of climate change on agriculture, he said farmers bear its maximum brunt.
The Centre should seriously look into the issue of meagre compensation given to farmers by insurance companies, and the damage caused by unseasonal rains should also qualify for compensation, Thackeray said.
He called for changes in the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna, saying the insurance firms are making huge profits but the farmers are not getting much relief. Excess profits of insurance companies should go back to the government, he said.
"Rules about profit and loss of insurance firms should be revisited," Thackeray added.
Some parts of Maharashtra experienced hailstorms and unseasonal rains recently which damaged standing crops, he pointed out.
The Centre should formulate a policy for agriculture which should factor in climate change, Thackeray said.
The chief minister also sought the Centre's assistance for developing ports in Konkan and encouraging fisheries while asserting that he was against development at the cost of environment.
His government learnt a positive lesson from the coronavirus pandemic which was to ensure that Internet reaches every nook and corner of the state, Thackeray said.
Though the Centre has undertaken BharatNet initiative to spread connectivity, Internet has not yet reached over 2,500 villages in remote areas of Maharashtra, and this should be looked into, he said.