Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday conducted a video conference with chief ministers of all major states and union territories. (Photo Credit: News Nation Photo)
The nationwide lockdown imposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak in India is likely to continue beyond April 14, top sources in the government said even as the death toll from the number of cases surged past 7,400 and the death toll inched towards 250. Extension of the lockdown till April 30 was supported by chief ministers of at least seven states in a virtual meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday. The first and only CM to oppose so far is Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday conducted a video conference with chief ministers of all major states and union territories in a bid to take stock of the situation on the ground and record suggestions regarding the nationwide lockdown slated to end on April 14. The lockdown was announced by the prime minister in an effort to curb further spread of the novel coronavirus which has claimed more than 235 lives in India to date.
The Central government is understood to have also obtained views on the issue from all the relevant agencies and stakeholders involved in the efforts to contain the spread of the pandemic. The video conference, which began at 11am, comes amidst indications that the central government may extend the nationwide lockdown with some possible relaxations even as Punjab and Odisha have already announced extending the lockdown beyond April 14 when the current spell of 21-day shutdown across the country ends on Tuesday. The Union Home Ministry has sought views of state governments on various aspects, including whether more categories of people and services need to be exempted. In the current lockdown only essential services are exempted. This is for the second time the prime minister is interacting with the chief ministers via video link after the lockdown was imposed. During his April 2 interaction with chief ministers, Modi had pitched for a "staggered" exit from the ongoing lockdown.
According to an official statement after the Wednesday interaction, the prime minister told these leaders that states, district administrations and experts have suggested extension of the lockdown to contain the spread of the virus. Before the lockdown was announced on March 24, the prime minister had interacted with the chief ministers on March 20 to discuss ways and means to check the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Among the chief ministers who took part in the video conference were Yogi Adityanath (UP), Uddhav Thackeray (Maharashtra), Amarinder Singh (Punjab), Nitish Kumar (Bihar), Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), Manohar Lal Khattar (Haryana), Ashok Gehlot (Rajasthan) and K Chandrashekhar Rao (Telangana), BS Yediyurappa (Karnataka), Bhupesh Baghel (Chhattisgarh) Pinarayi Vijayan (Kerala), Naveen Patnaik (Odisha), V Narayanasamy (Puducherry), and Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh) among others. The purpose of the video conference was for the central government to consider all possibilities before taking a final call on the extension of the nationwide lockdown.