Coronavirus Outbreak: 'Use Rs 4,000 crore fund for construction labourers,' says Devendra Fadnavis
Former CM Devendra Fadnavis calls state to use money collected under 2010 scheme for daily wage workers hit due to coronavirus.
Appreciating its pandemic mitigation efforts, former CM Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday urged the state government to spend the labour cess (fund) of R4,000 crore for supporting unorganised out-of-job construction labourers in Maharashtra. He also called for the extending of relaxation in tax and duty payments and creation of more medical facilities in rural areas in the wake of the viral threat.
"This is a national disaster which we all, the state and central governments, are fighting together. We [the Opposition party] support the state government fully and appeal people to follow guidelines and protocol," he told media persons on Saturday.
Fadnavis said the Mumbai Metropolitan Region alone had 50 lakh construction labourers. "The state collects cess [from registered builders] for the welfare of this workforce. Currently, the fund has R4,000 crore, which can be used to support the daily needs of this unorganised sector. The government should make a standard operating procedure and engage voluntary organisations to implement the support system at the earliest in MMR, Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad and Nagpur," he said.
He suggested that the state postpone the recovery of taxes. The Centre has already postponed recovery and filing of returns till June.
The ex-CM added that a mass exodus from cities would expose rural areas of the state to disaster. "If we don't want villages and small towns to get infected, then we must have thermal screening capacity multiplied at railway stations and bus depots. The destinations should be identified and authorities be prepared to meet the medical challenge. Isolation centres should be set up these as well," he added.
Support 'Janata Curfew'
Fadnavis said, "Self-isolation is required and hence Janata Curfew is the need of the hour. We could break the infection cycle by staying home for a day. BJP workers have been asked to support the government schemes and mitigation efforts," he said.
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