Ajit Pawar rules out complete lockdown in Pune

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar. File   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

While ruling out a total lockdown in Pune, district Guardian Minister and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday hinted at imposing more stringent regulations to deter violation of COVID-19 norms.

Mr. Pawar, who chaired a review meeting with senior district administration authorities, was responding to the Bombay High Court’s suggestion that the Maharashtra government consider imposing a complete lockdown in Pune in view of the rise in cases. The district has been reporting a surge of more than 10,000 cases, and 135 to 140 deaths each day. Pune’s active cases stand at over 96,000 and nearly 14,000 fatalities have been recorded since the start of the pandemic last year.

Mr. Pawar said, “While some elected representatives have raised the possibility of a total lockdown, the current restrictions are sufficient. We may tighten curbs to deter people who are moving about without any valid reason.”

He said while cases had somewhat declined in Pune city, there was no significant reduction overall and cases were on the rise in rural parts of the district. The minister said the acute shortage of vaccines was causing problems for the third phase of the inoculation drive (for citizens in the 18-44 age group) and lakhs of senior citizens. Mr. Pawar said he would speak to the Serum Institute of India CEO, Adar Poonawalla, when he returned from the U.K.

He said, “About 22 lakh senior citizens are yet to get their second dose… the shortage of vaccines is causing trouble for the session meant for the 18-44 age group as well. When I called Mr. Poonawalla to speak to him on this matter, I was told he is yet to return from the U.K…he is expected to be back in the next 10-12 days. I will call on him then.”

Meanwhile, BJP leader and Pune Mayor Murlidhar Mohol, who is opposed to a total lockdown, said the Bombay High Court made the suggestion based on erroneous information about the district’s COVID-19 situation, which was presented before the court.

Mr. Mohol said, “The court goes by what is being presented in front of them…the number of cases in Pune district has actually come down by 16,000. So, there is no need to impose a crippling lockdown.”

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Printable version | Jun 17, 2021 2:24:44 AM |

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