Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called for economic activities to be allowed in the national capital, except in containment zones, during a video interaction between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief ministers of different states on Monday. The latest round of consultation between the Prime Minister and chief ministers focussed on a stronger COVID-19 containment strategy and measures to step up economic activities in a calibrated manner as the 54-day lockdown nears its end. This is the fifth interaction between the PM and CMs on the coronavirus crisis in India.
"During the interaction, the Chief Minister said economic activities should be allowed to resume in Delhi, except in COVID-19 containment zones," PTI reported citing a source.
Chattisgarh CM Bhupesh Singh Baghel said that state governments should be given the right to take a decision about economic activities in their respective states. He also said that train, aviation, and inter-state bus services should be resumed only after consulting state governments.
Meanwhile, several states, including Punjab, Maharashtra, West Bengal, and Telangana, favoured an extension of lockdown during today's interaction. Punjab CM Amarinder Singh called for a lockdown extension along with a well-crafted exit strategy to save lives and livelihoods. Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee also demanded lockdown extension.
On the other hand, Telangana CM K Chandrasekar Rao and Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K Palaniswami asked the PM to hold passenger train services to check the spread of coronavirus in the country. Ministry of Railways has released a list of 15 pairs of special trains that will run from New Delhi starting May 12.
During the video conference, PM Modi told chief ministers that India will have to devise and implement a "balanced strategy" to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, and the biggest challenge for the country will be to ensure that the infection does not spread to villages.
Appreciating the role played by the states in the fight against the pandemic, Modi said the entire world is of the view that India has been able to successfully protect itself from the pandemic, according to official sources.
(With PTI inputs)