Opposition raises clamour for opening of temples but the government seems wary about Covid third wave
Mumbai: Amid the BJP’s growing clamour for the reopening of temples in Maharashtra, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has hit out at the Opposition party, asking it to refrain from indulging in politics and making such calls. He said that the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in the state will be based on the availability of oxygen, and it was “up to the people to prevent or invite a third wave” of the pandemic.
“Don't play with the lives of people. I request people not to protest for the reopening of temples and other places. If you want to protest, protest against the coronavirus,” Mr Thackeray said on Sunday.
“Some people are in a hurry to reopen some establishments. I request them to wait for some more time because the state government doesn’t want to open them and then close again if the Covid situation occurs,” he added.
The CM made these remarks at an interaction with doctors from across the state, in a virtual meeting attended by members of the state’s task force on Covid-19 as well.
He said the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in the state will be based on the availability of oxygen and it was up to the people to prevent or invite a third wave of the pandemic. “Now the government has relaxed several curbs. There is an upcoming Ganeshotsav. I want people not to be complacent, avoid crowding in order to avoid the spread of the virus and its infection. I also urge political parties to avoid crowding,” he said.
According to him, the state government has strengthened the health infrastructure and it was in the midst of increasing the oxygen capacity to 3,000 MT from the present level of 1,200 to 1,400 MT to meet the demand in the wake of the third wave.
“But that will take time. We may not get enough oxygen from other states if the number of cases there increase,” he said. The CM said even though the second wave of Covid-19 was “under control”, there was a slight increase in the number of daily cases in the last few days.
The Maharashtra government has cited a letter by the Union government behind its decision to close religious places. The Union health ministry had asked it to restrict religious activities and public celebrations during the festive season amid fears of a potential third wave of Covid-19 infections.