Andhra says finances precarious, limit curbs to the 12% mandals hit
Andhra Pradesh has asked for lifting of the lockdown in areas not affected by coronavirus, with restrictions. In his discussion with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy said that of the 676 mandals in the state, positive cases had been found in only 81, while the remaining 595 were untouched.
"We have 37 'red zones' and 44 'orange zones' comprising the 81 mandals. The existing lockdown should continue in these 81 mandals while there should be relaxation in the unaffected mandals ('green zones'), but with conditions. Malls, cinema halls, places of worship, public transport and schools should remain closed, and physical distancing should be strictly maintained," Jagan said.
At the same time, the CM said the country should remain united in the fight against the virus and it would support and implement any decision the Centre finally takes.
With 21 new cases reported on Saturday, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state stands at 402. Eleven have recovered and six have died.
Sources said the state is ready to deploy additional forces in the containment zones and COVID-19 clusters to implement a strict lockdown while allowing relaxations in the green zones.
Jagan emphasised that the state was suffering huge financial losses due to the lockdown, and the financial situation was precarious. The CM had pointed this out in an earlier meeting with the PM too.
At the video-conference, Jagan told the PM that officials had visited 1.4 crore families in the state to know about their well-being. "Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms is being tested and if necessary sent to isolation and given treatment," he said.
Jagan said they were strictly enforcing lockdown in the 141 identified containment clusters, and established exclusive coronavirus hospitals in all the 13 district headquarters. The hospitals and COVID-19 care centres have a combined capacity of 26,000 beds.
Stating that agriculture was the mainstay of Andhra's economy, Jagan said it contributed 35% of its GSDP and 62% of its workforce. "The lockdown has halted inter-state transportation and less than 25% trucks or goods containers are on the roads. We do not have enough storage for all the agriculture output. As the markets are closed, the government has to purchase all the paddy, corn, chillies, tobacco, vegetables. But how much can we? And where do we store and use them? If the situation continues like this, lakhs of families dependent on agriculture will be affected. In the industrial sector, of the 1,03,986 units, only 7,250 are running."
(Inputs and image from theindianexpess.com)
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