NEW DELHI: Some chief ministers sought more coordination from the Centre and a greater say to decide on their own strategies even as most states appeared in favour of the lockdown being relaxed slowly with precautions. In the meeting with PM Narendra Modi, states like Punjab, Bihar, Assam spoke in favour of extension of lockdown.
Supporting the extension of lockdown, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar stressed on the random testing with facilities being provided by the Centre. Skill profiling of migrants is on to create skill-oriented jobs to them, he said.
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee requested Modi to maintain the federal structure of the country and not to take decisions unilaterally. “The Centre and the state must work together as a team to overcome the Covid challenge. Leaking letters is not in the federal spirit.,” she said.
Lockdown should continue for two more weeks since relaxation will mean that people take things lightly, Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal said. “Inter-state movement should be kept limited.”
The biggest challenge is poised by the large number of people returning home, Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma said. “Same policies will not work in the whole country. We must continue following some basic guidelines. To keep the virus in check, inter-state movement should be minimised. All states must be allowed to do their own planning.”
Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray requested Modi to restart the Mumbai suburban train service for the essential services. He also sought state’s share of GST from the Centre. “The state has lost around `35,000 revenue in last 40 days. The Centre should extend financial help during crisis situations.”
Punjab CM Amarinder Singh said states needed to be given a greater flexibility in micro-planning.“The decision on designating the red, orange, yellow and green zones should be left to the states, which are more aware of the ground realities.”
Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan suggested that stern measures should be adopted for hotspots and containment zones, but relaxation should be allowed in other areas to enable economic activity.