PM Modi interacts with CMs over anti-Coronavirus lockdown extension as India in Catch-22
New Delhi/IBNS: A meeting via video connference between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the state Chief Ministers is presently underway as the Centre is likely to take a call on whether the 21-day massive, unprecedented lockdown to stem the spread of COVID-19 can be extended.
Though the Centre was not keen to extend the 21-day lockdown which began on Mar 25, at least six states have urged the union government to increase the lockdown period to save people's lives amid the COVID-19 threat.
However, the states are also considering the massive impact on economy as the business in close to the last three weeks went for a toss leading the daily wagers to suffer.
In West Bengal, which is the eastern state of the country, small traders missed the opportunity to earn big during an annual sale period (known as Chaitra Sale) ahead of the Bengali New Year as the entire business is under lockdown since Mar 25.
Despite the economic losses, Odisha and Punjab have already increased the shutdown period by few more weeks.
While Odisha extended the lockdown till Apr 31, restrictions will continue in Punjab till May 1.
In a catch-22, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said the lockdown can't be lifted as the COVID-19 cases are surging.
"Lockdown can't be stopped now because the COVID-19 cases are increasing. The coming few weeks are crucial. Nothing is more important than people's lives. Despite a lot of problems, we have to bear it," Banerjee said.
"We will support any decision which will be taken by the central government on lockdown," she had added.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao earlier said he was in favour of the extension of the lockdown to save the lives.
"We can recover from the economic problem. But, we cannot get back lost lives," Rao had told media.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had said, "We can bear the lockdown. We can also revive economy but we cannot get back the lost lives."
As per the government data, 7,447 people including 643 cured and 239 deceased have been infected with Maharashtra registering the highest number of cases (1574) followed by Tamil Nadu (911) and the national capital Delhi (903).
Though the number of positive Coronavirus cases is much lower than the ones coming from other developed western nations, several health experts have warned India of getting its poor health infrastructure overwhelmed if the country enters into the community transmission stage.