Maharashtra CM urges Centre to consider COVID-19 a natural calamity
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has written a letter to the Centre, urging to consider the COVID-19 pandemic as a natural calamity, so that the government can use the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) to provide financial assistance to the affected people. The chief minister wrote the letter to the Centre on Wednesday to seek its permission, a government official said.
State needs the Union government's permission to use the SDRF
All-State Disaster Management Acts have been formed as part of the central disaster management law; hence the state needs the Union government's permission to use the SDRF for helping pandemic-hit people, the official said on Thursday. Till now, floods, lightning incidents, heavy rainfall where there is loss of property or livelihood fall under the natural calamity, and monetary compensation is provided to affected people.
Coronavirus outbreak has affected the earnings of thousands
"The chief minister wants to use the SDRF for a similar purpose as the coronavirus outbreak has affected the earnings of thousands in the state. We need a legal provision to do so, hence the state government has written to the Centre," the official said.
Maharashtra reported 58,952 fresh coronavirus cases on Wednesday
On Wednesday, Maharashtra reported 58,952 fresh coronavirus cases, taking the tally to 35,78,160, while 278 new fatalities pushed the toll to 58,804, the state health department said. In view of an alarming rise in cases, the state government has announced stricter measures for 15-days which came into force at 8 pm on Wednesday and will remain in operation till 7 am on May 1.
Officials directed to monitor COVID-19-appropriate behavior amid curbs
Thackeray on Wednesday asked officials to closely monitor COVID-19-appropriate behavior among shop owners who have been allowed to operate during the new restrictions, as well as customers, and penalize the violators. Thackeray also asked to keep an eye on marriage ceremonies so that they do not become super-spreading events. Roadside eateries will remain operational and only takeaway will be available, according to the notification.