Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said that his government will allow certain industries to resume operations in non-hotspot areas, but with necessary precautions, during the nationwide lockdown to slow down the spread of Covid-19. Maharashtra has over 3,600 cases of the coronavirus and 211 deaths, making it the worst-hit state in India.
“We are allowing some industrial activity in orange and green zones with restrictions and precautions,” he wrote on Twitter. “So far, we had given permissions only for industries in the essential sector and transport of essentials.”
Based on the number of Covid-19 cases, the Centre has divided districts across India into red, orange and green zones. Places where the number of Covid-19 cases is rapidly increasing are red zones. Areas with fewer Covid-19 cases and slower growth rate of infections are classified as orange zones, and green zones are areas where no Covid-19 cases have been reported in two weeks.
Thackeray added that the industries that are ready to provide accommodation to their workers during the lockdown will receive help from the government. “We have told owners, that wherever possible, if you can take care of your employees and workers in your premises, we will supply grain,” he said. “You will also get necessary raw material. Do your work.”
The Maharashtra chief minister clarified that the state’s borders will remain sealed and the movement of only essential goods will be allowed. “The borders of districts will not be opened up, except for goods transport,” he said. “We will have to follow these restrictions at least till May 3.”
Thackeray also assured migrant workers that the government will help them reach home. “We are gradually starting activity in Maharashtra again, and if possible, resume work so that your livelihood is ensured,”he said. “Once things ease, I promise you, the Maharashtra Govt [government] will ensure that you go home.”
Earlier on Sunday, Thackeray’s Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal said there would be no relaxations in the lockdown rules in the Capital since the number of Covid-19 cases was rising. Delhi has nearly 1,900 cases of Covid-19 and 42 deaths. He added that since all eleven districts in Delhi have been declared hotspots, the restrictions cannot be eased.
The government has allowed certain activities to resume in non-hotspot areas from April 20. Industries in rural areas, non-banking financial institutions and micro finance corporations will be allowed to operate during the lockdown, which was extended till May 3.