Hyderabad: Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, on 6 April, appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to extend the lockdown by a week or two . He said the lockdown is India’s only weapon to contain Corona virus and the 21 days would have been a waste if it is partially or fully lifted after 15 April.
He asked Mr Modi to consider extending the lockdown for one or two more weeks initially and take a decision after reviewing the situation. Interestingly, KCR referred to the Boston Consulting Group’s report which recommended extending the lockdown in India till 3 June to contain the spread of the Corona virus completely. The 21-day lockdown declared by Mr Modi will end on 14 April.
Addressing a press conference at Pragathi Bhavan on 6 April, KCR said if the ongoing lockdown is lifted on 15 April, the purpose of the 21-day lockdown will have been a waste as there are still chances that the virus will spread since the lockdown failed to completely eliminate it. “I support a lockdown beyond 15 April because we can recover from the economic problems but we cannot recover the lives of the people. In a situation like this, India, with its poor health infrastructure and huge workforce, cannot control the spread of COVID-19. Our only weapon is the lockdown. We are not above the UK and Singapore. We are a good economy and we are progressing. But I appeal to the Prime Minister and to the government of India to extend the lockdown without any hesitation,” he said.
He urged Mr Modi to consult the Chief Ministers and “take a conscious decision”. He said, “We have no other weapon to contain this dreadful virus. Our only weapon is extending the lockdown. To the best of my knowledge and experience, there is no other option for us.”
Admitting that the economy will be adversely impacted due to the lockdown, KCR said, “Telangana government used to earn about Rs. 400 crore per day. Due to the lockdown, it has now come down to Rs. 1 crore per day. From 1 to 6 April, the state government got only Rs. 6 crores. However, we have to face this. We can work hard and get the economy back on track after six months or a year but we cannot bring back people who have died due to the virus.”
KCR is against the partial or staggered lifting of the lockdown after 15 April, as being proposed by the Centre. “In a big country like India with a population of 130 crore, the partial or staggered lifting of the lockdown is not possible. Once gates are opened, no one can control people from coming out. Markets will open, hotels, bars, pubs, function halls, and theatres will open. This will lead to mass gatherings and eventually give scope for the spread of the virus.
The efforts we have put during the 21-day lockdown to contain the virus will go to waste once the lockdown is partially or fully lifted,” he said, adding, the number of OCVID-19 cases and deaths are on the rise because we have been unable to contain the spread of Corona virus during the 21 days.
The partial or staggered lifting of the lockdown will also lead to other problems, like division and tiff among people over why some get relief while others have to suffer.