NEW DELHI, Apr 11 (Agencies): The central government is considering a request made by a majority of the states to extend the ongoing nationwide lockdown by two more weeks beyond April 14, government sources said on Saturday after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s interaction with chief ministers. The Centre and most states are learnt to have agreed on the need to extend lockdown, however, there may be some relaxations.
“Most states requested to extend the lockdown by two weeks and the Centre is considering the request,” a government source said.
Government sources also said PM Narendra Modi will not be addressing the nation on Saturday. The announcement of lockdown extension is expected to made by the PM in an address to the nation either on Sunday or Monday.
During the video conference with PM Modi, several chief ministers including Punjab’s Amarinder Singh and Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal had suggested extending the lockdown at least by a fortnight.
The prime minister has taken a correct decision to extend the nationwide lockdown, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal said after the video conference.
“PM has taken correct decision to extend lockdown. Today, India’s position is better than many developed countries because we started lockdown early. If it is stopped now, all gains would be lost. To consolidate, it is imp to extend it,” Arvind Kejriwal said in a tweet.
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa mentioned that the PM said lockdown extension is inevitable and guidelines will be issued about its implementation for next 15 days in a couple of days. The next two weeks lockdown will be different from the last three weeks, Yediyurappa said.
However, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan told PM Modi that he was not in favour of the withdrawal of the ongoing coronavirus lockdown, which ends on April 14, in his state.
“Today we are not in favour of removal of lockdown. It should not be removed now. Life of the people is more important and to save it the lockdown is necessary,” Chouhan’s spokesperson quoted the CM as telling PM Modi.
Meanwhile, Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy said the chief ministers of some states urged PM Modi to stop governors and lieutenant governors from interfering in the functioning of state governments.
Most chief ministers urged the Centre for financial aid as the states are facing a fund crunch in the absence of any economic activity due to the ongoing 21-day nationwide lockdown, the Congress leader said.
During the meeting with CMs, PM Modi said, “Jaan hai to jahan hai. When I had addressed the nation I had said that to save life of every citizen, lockdown and social distancing are very important. Most of the people understood this and stayed at home.”
“Jaan bhi and jahan bhi – a future where people care about both the aspects, follow their duties and abide by the directions of the government – this will be important for India’s prosperous and healthy future,” he added.
He emphasised the criticality of coming three to four weeks for determining the impact of the steps taken till now to contain the virus, adding that teamwork is the key to facing the challenge, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.
The ongoing 21-day nationwide lockdown to contain the Covid-19 crisis, announced by Modi on March 24, is scheduled to end on April 14.
PM Modi, accompanied by some senior officials, including from the Union health ministry, was wearing a white mask during the meeting which was also attended by chief ministers — Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), Uddhav Thackeray (Maharashtra), Yogi Adityanath (Uttar Pradesh), Manohar Lal (Haryana), K Chandrashekhar Rao (Telangana) and Nitish kumar (Bihar).