Coronavirus Outbreak: 'Give free ration to poor, waive power, water bills, school fee,' says city Congress VP

Updated: Mar 24, 2020, 07:44 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

City Congress VP writes to CM requesting for relief packages to slum dwellers, citizens

Amarjit Singh Manhas
Amarjit Singh Manhas

Mumbai Congress vice-president Amarjit Singh Manhas has requested CM Uddhav Thackeray to take financial measures that his party president Sonia Gandhi has suggested be taken by Congress-led and party alliance states in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic related lockdown.

Singh wrote to Thackeray on Sunday asking him to provide free ration to slum dwellers and demanded waiver on electricity bills and municipal taxes for residential properties.

"We need to completely lock down Maharashtra, especially metro cities like Mumbai, at least for a few weeks or maybe a month before we reach stage 4.

As Mumbai is the financial capital, people here will be severely affected by the lockdown. On the one hand, when we expect them to shut down factories and shops and encourage people to stay at home for weeks or longer, we need to understand and fulfill their needs as well," said Singh.

"As per the concern of Soniaji Gandhi and Rahulji Gandhi, I request the government of Maharashtra to provide a basic relief package that will not put a lot of burden on the government but will provide huge relief to the distressed people, of Mumbai in particular," said Manhas.

What the Congress leader wants

1. Periodically provide free ration to slum dwellers. Local funds of corporators, MLAs and MPs can be used for this. Private companies may be asked to contribute CSR for this
2. Waive water and electricity bills (for residential users). Do not collect property and other taxes
3. Don't charge school and college fees from April 2020
4. Tell banks and financial institution to delay collecting EMIs and interest till the crisis is over. Banks should extend term loan period and not charge interest
5. Tell telecom companies to provide free services for a month or two. Tell cable and DTH service providers to provide free service for a month or two
6. Conduct COVID-19 screening in slums which also need to be sanitised multiple times a day. Once slums are infected it will nearly be impossible to control the pandemic
7. Make public the list of people with foreign travel history for a public audit

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