Declare COVID-19 'natural calamity', Maharashtra CM urges PM Narendra Modi

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare the COVID-19 pandemic as a 'natural calamity'
Declare COVID-19 'natural calamity', Maharashtra CM urges PM Narendra Modi
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav ThackerayImage source: The Bridge Chronicle

Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday appealed Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare the COVID-19 pandemic as a 'natural calamity'.

As Maharashtra bears the brunt of the second wave of the novel virus, Thackeray in two separate letters to the PM said that declaring COVID as natural calamity would enable relief funds extended by the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for the pandemic victims

"In view of the Covid-19 pandemic situation in the state, a mini-lockdown is a necessity. Covid-19 pandemic may be notified as a natural calamity for the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF). Accordingly, the state may be allowed to pay Gratuitous Relief of Rs 100 per adult per day and Rs 60 per child per day during the period of lockdown to all the Antodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Priority House Hold (PHH) family members whose names are included in the AAY and PHH ration cards," Thackeray said.

LIQUID MEDICAL OXYGEN SUPPLY

On the state's grim COVID-19 status, the CM stated that Maharashtra currently has 5.64 lakh active cases, or almost 88 percent higher than the peak of September last year. "The biggest concern to the state is liquid medical oxygen (LMO) supplies. The requirement of oxygen is crossing the total capacity of 1,200 MT of LMO manufacturing. We have projected that the demand would be 2,000 MT April-end," he said.

Praising the decision to ban Remdesivir exports, Thackeray also requested the experts concerned to grant compulsory licence as per Section 92 of Indian Patents Act, 1970, which would ease approval to those exporting units to manufacture and sell the drug in the domestic markets. Thackeray sought the PM's "personal intervention" to address the worries of the state on these issues to battle the outbreak situation.

Meanwhile, the Centre has approved production of Corona vaccines from the Maharashtra government-owned Haffkine Institute in Mumbai. Thackeray thanked the PM for the formal nod, sent by the Department of Science & Technology Secretary to state Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte of the approval for a period of 12 months.

Covaxin is manufactured by Bharat Biotech and has been indigenously developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

(With agency inputs)

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