TOI had reported on Saturday that Thackeray had told a group of select editors that he was not in favour of lifting the lockdown considering the number of Covid-19 cases in Mumbai and Pune, though the NCP has been putting pressure on him to relent. Pawar’s meeting with Thackeray on Saturday was the second in a week.“The CM is not in a hurry, and any decision on Mumbai and Pune will be taken very cautiously in view of the steady increase in the number of cases,” a senior bureaucrat told TOI. The bureaucrat said Thackeray will meet chief secretary Ajoy Mehta and senior bureaucrats directly involved in implementation of the lockdown on Sunday and work out revised norms for Maharashtra in view of the Union home ministry’s orders.
There are many issues the Thackeray-led government has to decide: whether places of worship, malls, shops and establishments would be allowed to reopen in keeping with the Centre’s notification, and whether urban transport could restart. “A decision on these issues would be taken on Sunday keeping in mind the idea of social distancing,” the bureaucrat said.
“The CM may consider a few relaxations in Mumbai and Pune, but they will be in non-containment zones. He is not likely to bow to political pressure from any party,” the bureaucrat said.
But the NCP feels restarting of economic activity is needed. “We feel it will be wrong to continue with the existing lockdown rules for a long period. We will have to strike a balance between lockdown and economy,” NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said.
Pawar had, some days ago, tweeted that state governments were relaxing lockdown conditions but factories were not in a position to resume as workers had migrated to the villages. “We need to strategize to bring them back,” he had said, noting that “the lockdown has disrupted transport services. We need to take the right steps to gradually restore road transport within the states and plan for the resumption of air and rail services.”