Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to convene a meeting of political parties to appeal for their cooperation instead of playing politics amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
At a virtual meeting of the Chief Ministers of eight States, chaired by the Prime Minister, Mr. Thackeray said, “New cases in Maharashtra have dipped from 24,000 to 5,000. We have urged the people to stay alert. The Prime Minister or the Home Minister should convene a meeting of all political parties and inform them about the seriousness of the situation and seek their cooperation.”
The Chief Minister did not name any party, but his remarks came in the backdrop of the State BJP staging protests for the reopening of temples and on the issue of inflated electricity bills.
Mr. Thackeray said on the one hand the government is asking citizens to follow safety norms, while on the other, political parties are hitting the streets in protest. “This will seriously damage all our attempts to control the pandemic and may invite the next wave of the coronavirus,” he said.
The NITI Aayog made a presentation on vaccine production and its distribution during the meeting. Mr. Thackeray said that the State government is constantly in touch with the Pune-based Serum Institute of India, which has partnered with pharma major AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford for manufacturing a vaccine.
“The State government has set up a task force. It will discuss issues such as availability, production, side-effects, and funds required for distribution,” he said. The task force, which will be led by the Chief Secretary, comprises the Additional Chief Secretaries from the Finance and Planning departments, Principal Secretary of Public Health Department, Secretary of Medical Education Department, Health Services Commissioner, Director of Medical Education, and heads of the pharmacy departments of Sir JJ group of hospitals and KEM Hospital.
Mr. Thackeray also informed Mr. Modi about the State government’s ambitious ‘My Family, My Responsibility’ campaign. He said the campaign has received a good response and succeeded in containing the spread of the disease. “The State government conducted a health survey of 11.92 crore people and has collected their data. This will help the State to develop its health map,” he added.
Mr. Thackeray said 70,000 to 80,000 tests are being conducted in the State daily and instructions have been issued to increase the number of RT-PCR tests.
(With PTI inputs)