Will malls, liquor stores open in Karnataka from May 4?
With coronavirus pandemic forcing people to remain in some or other kind of lockdown, economies are battered globally. India too has imposed restrictions for 40 days, albeit in batches, to ensure the spread of the virus is controlled. As the second lockdown could end on May 3, some states are looking to start services that could re-start the economy. Karnataka is one of them.
Government plans to change its approach towards COVID-19
On Thursday, the government, led by BJP's BS Yediyurappa, made it amply clear it wanted to allow industries and other commercial activities to start in non-containment zones from May 4. The plan is to open malls, liquor stores, etc., in areas least-affected by the virus. Not the entire ward, the containment zones will be restricted to few streets, a report in TOI said.
The crisis will go on for some months
Yediyurappa held a Cabinet meeting, after which he told reporters that the crisis is likely to continue for 2-3 months, so plans need to be made accordingly. "Both economic activities and efforts to control the pandemic must go hand in hand. We've decided to give permission to start industrial and commercial activities in all places, except the containment zones from May 4," he said.
Bengaluru's malls closed before the rest of India
Now, the state is waiting for a green signal from the Centre. Malls and cinema halls were closed in Bengaluru, ten days before the first lockdown was announced on March 24. Yediyurappa is confident Prime Minister Narendra Modi would listen to his request.
Cabinet wants liquor stores to be opened
During the Cabinet meeting, ministers proposed opening all liquor stores as well as MRP shops and MSIL stores. However, public transport and metros won't be functional until May 15. Yediyurappa was one of the CMs hoping that liquor stores were allowed to function in the second lockdown, considering they are a source of revenue. In 2019-20 fiscal, Karnataka got Rs. 20,000 crore from alcohol.
In Rajasthan, MLA asked Gehlot to open liquor stores
On a related note, an MLA from Rajasthan shot off a letter to CM Ashok Gehlot making a case for re-opening of liquor stores. "When coronavirus can be removed by washing hands with alcohol, then drinking alcohol will surely remove virus from the throat," Congress' Bharat Singh, a legislator from Kota's Sangod, said in the letter. And a BJP member said Rajasthan needs revenue.
There are 130 red zones across India: Government
This morning, the Ministry of Health identified 130 red, 284 orange, and 319 green zones across India. The infection transmission rate is the highest in red zones and the least in green ones. Key cities like Delhi, Noida, Agra, Lucknow were labeled red.