Enamul Hafiz Latifee compiles,
The Telangana government on Tuesday, 05 May 2020 announced the extension of lockdown till 29 May, notwithstanding the extension declared by the Union government till 17 May to contain the spread of COVID-19 across the country.
A decision to this effect was taken at the 7-hour long marathon state cabinet meeting in the evening.
Speaking to reporters after the cabinet meeting, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao said the decision to extend the lockdown in Telangana till 29 May was taken with a view to ensure that the entire state would come out of COVID-19 by then.
“As per the Central government guidelines, six districts – Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy, Medchal, Vikarabad, Suryapet and Warangal (urban) are in red zones. While 18 districts are in orange zone, nine others are in green zone. In another 11 days, all the 18 orange zone districts would turn into green zones,” he said.
Out of six red zone districts, three districts would also turn into orange zones. The remaining three districts- Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy and Medchal are still in danger zones, as they account for 66 per cent of the total number of positive cases and 86 per cent of the deaths due to COVID-19.
“So, we want to implement lockdown in these areas; hence, we have decided to extend lockdown till 29 May so as to safeguard the state from the dreaded disease,” KCR said.
The Chief Minister said the cabinet decided to restart the economic activity with immediate effect in orange and green zones. Though the Centre has allowed certain activity even in the red zones, Telangana would not allow it under any circumstances and no shop would be allowed to open.
“Starting Wednesday, construction activity can resume. Cement and steel dealers can restart their shops. So will be hardware, electrical, agrilculture-related shops like tractor spare parts, fertilisers, seeds and pesticide shops,” he said.
The Chief Minister also announced resumption of all 2,200-odd liquor shops all over Telangana except in 15 containment zones. “The decision was taken in the wake of resumption of liquor outlets in the neighbouring states and also to prevent illicit brewing of country liquor,” he said.
He announced enhancement of liquor prices by an average of 16 percent, except on cheaper brands of alcohol whose price will be enhanced by 11 percent. The shops will remain open only from 10 am to 6 pm.
The Chief Minister said all the other shops allowed by the Centre would be opened in orange and green zones. “All shops in the rural areas, starting from villages to block headquarters, will remain open. In municipalities, 50 percent of the shops will be allowed to open every alternate day with staggered timings,” he announced.
KCR said he would hold a high-level meeting again on 15 May and review the decisions after assessing the situation in other cities and states in the country and also in 27 districts in green and orange zones in Telangana.
“We have seen how chaotic situation was in cities like Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai etc, where police had to resort to lathi-charge to control the situation. We shall review the situation on 15 May and shall not hesitate to revoke these relaxations, if necessary,” he said.
KCR said the government offices would restart from Wednesday, 06 May 2020. While Stamps and Registration department will run with 100 percent staff and land transactions would resume. Sand mining and vehicle registrations would also resume, he said.
The cabinet also decided to complete eight pending examinations of Class 10 in all the schools in the state. The spot valuation for Class 11 and 12 examinations would also commence from Wednesday, he said, adding that next academic year would be decided later.
The cabinet decided to make arrangements for the transportation of migrant labourers from Telangana to their respective states. “We made arrangements for 40 trains a day but the other states wanted us to go slow because they have to make arrangements for taking the migrant workers to their respective native villages. Today, we arranged 11 trains for them, each carrying 1200 passengers. We shall make transport arrangements for rest of them in due course,” he said.
He, however, appealed to the migrant labourers to stay back in Telangana, as economic activity was going to resume immediately.