'Not in favour of lockdown but follow Covid norms'
KOLKATA: Ruling out the possibility of complete lockdown in the state considering the fact that such move would adversely affect a large section of people, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee stressed upon strict adherence to the Covid norms.
"The state government is not in favour of complete lockdown. It will leave an adverse affect on a large section of people mainly the daily wage-earners. Instead, all must properly adhere to the Covid norms. Keep in mind that use of masks, proper sanitisation and maintenance of physical distancing norms are must. The risks of the spread of the disease had considerably gone down with suspension of the local train service," Banerjee said, after holding the first Cabinet meeting of the third consecutive government of Trinamool Congress.
This comes when the state has imposed restrictions on opening of shopping malls, swimming pools, gym, etc besides allowing local markets or bazaars to operate for only five hours a day. Jute mills are operating with 30 per cent of the total manpower in each shift. Only 50 per cent manpower in private and state-run offices is allowed.
She also directed Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay to ensure that everyone coming from outside must undergo RT-PCR tests and if found positive must be quarantined for 14 days.
The expense for being in quarantine has to be borne by the person himself or herself, if he or she is financially strong. Political experts feel that it is again a message to the BJP's Central leadership and members of the Central teams who are frequenting the state even after the elections. Still 1 lakh CAPF jawans are staying in the state. Banerjee also held meetings with representatives of all religions, forums for Durga Puja, Posta Byabsayi Samity and Chambers of Commerce at Nabanna Sabhaghar seeking their cooperation in the fight against the Covid pandemic.
In the meeting, she expressed her gratitude as the decision had been taken not to perform Eid Namaz on Red Road amid the surge in Covid cases. She also urged the leaders from the community to request everyone to offer prayer of Eid by avoiding gathering. The Durga Puja organisers have also assured the Chief Minister of extending support by allowing setting-up of Safe Homes at their community halls. Banerjee has also urged the Chambers of Commerce to take up at least a few markets of which they will carry out sanitisation and distribute masks. Members of Chamber of Commerce and Industry will sanitise College Street Market and distribute masks there on Tuesday. The vaccination of drivers and helpers of private buses are also going to start from Tuesday while the state government has also taken up the initiative to recruit contractual health workers including technicians through walk-in-interviews. Steps have also been taken to ensure availability of one ambulance and hearse van in every block.
The Chief Minister on Monday once again informed all about the state government's previous decision of setting-up of one English-medium school in each block. Expressing her gratitude towards the people of Bengal as their mandate helped her to form the government, Banerjee said: "Bengal does not support any division. All will work together. We have reached 95 per cent people by implementing development projects. We will continue implementing development work for the people."
A committee headed by Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay and comprising Home Secretary, Finance Secretary, Health Secretary and Industry Secretary will also be set up to implement all the pre-poll assurances and a meeting of the committee will be held on May 17.