Lockdown 4.0: States wary about zoning parametres

Published: May 16, 2020, 09:37 IST | Agencies | New Delhi

While many states are against entire districts being put in red zones due to presence of containment zones, some want that right of demarcation of zones be transferred to states

Stranded migrant workers wait with their belongings to board a special train to Bihar from MGR Central railway station, in Chennai on Friday. Pic /AFP
Stranded migrant workers wait with their belongings to board a special train to Bihar from MGR Central railway station, in Chennai on Friday. Pic /AFP

As the three-phase lockdown nears its end and Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised lockdown 4.0 will be "in a new avatar", states are wary about zoning parameters. While many states are against entire districts being put in red zones due to presence of containment zones, some wanted that right of demarcation of zones be transferred to the states. Even some BJP-ruled states like Assam and Haryana seem to have gone against Central lockdown advisories and thus seemingly joined the chorus of Opposition ruled states like that of Rajasthan and West Bengal to let states decide what's best for themselves.

After the Centre had allowed certain relaxations in terms of economic activities mid-April, Kerala went on to demarcate seven districts, including Kottayam as either green or orange zones. However, the Centre disagreed as 22 of the 88 hotspots in the state were from the seven districts. Unaware about the miscommunication between the Centre and the state, many came to the streets giving law enforcement agencies a nightmare to undo the damage.

As lockdown 4.0 is all set to roll in with expected new relaxations, all states are clear that "they don't want such confusion over zones." Increasingly, more and more states want the power to decide what is best for them. BJP-ruled Assam is the latest entrant to the list of such states which says places like Guwahati that has seen a sudden spike of cases has made it rethink. Now, with 22 cases from the city, the government is firm to impose stricter restrictions despite Guwahati being in the Green Zone.

Meanwhile, the national capital has already demanded greater economic activities across Delhi, despite the entire union territory being in the red zone. In the chief minister's meeting with the Prime Minister through video conference, Arvind Kejriwal is believed to have asked to keep the containment zones like Nizamuddin and buffer areas around under strict curbs while freeing the rest of the city, allowing more activities. The CM is also keen to reopen malls and start auto and taxi services with conditions.

'where's the exit plan?'

Manish Tewari, Congress spokesperson

'Where is the national exit plan? India announced a lockdown when the case count was 181 and now when you are lifting the lockdown, the number of cases has crossed 80,000'

Satyendar Jain, Delhi health minister

'There was a time when we all thought that this pandemic will be over by May 1 due to the summer. But now we have seen that in the Latin American countries also the pandemic is increasing. This shows that we have to learn to live with COVID-19'

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