New Delhi, May 15 (PTI) Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to open state boundaries for the next few months and called for stopping inter-state transportation, except for migrants or essential services, to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
He, however, called for opening up of economic activities with precautions and social-distancing norms and also favoured allowing all e-commerce activities and opening of hotels but not restaurants and bars.
Baghel had earlier told PTI in an interview that Chhattisgarh would not open its boundaries till the time the situation arising out of the COVID-19 outbreak improves.
In a letter to the prime minister, Baghel has given a series of suggestions for the fourth phase of the lockdown and what activities can be opened up slowly with precautions and maintaining social distancing norms.
Noting that ever since the government allowed relaxations in the lockdown, many people have entered Chhattisgarh and there is a concern about coronavirus re-infections, the chief minister has suggested that inter-state borders be not opened as of now.
'A large number of workers and other persons are coming to Chhattisgarh from other coronavirus-affected states. Due to this, there is a possibility of re-infection in Chhattisgarh. Therefore, it would not be appropriate to open inter-state boundaries in the next few months with a view of caution,' Baghel told the prime minister.
He said restrictions on non-essential inter-state transport by June 15 are currently required while noting that transportation be allowed only for urgent cases and with permission.
In addition to Shramik Special trains, new trains should be run only with the consent of the states concerned, Baghel said.
While noting that air travel should be for stranded persons only, the chief minister said for general and non-essential reasons, 'it will not be appropriate to be allowed.' 'It would be appropriate to suspend public transport services for the time being,' he said.
The chief minister's suggestions came days after the prime minister sought advice from states for the fourth phase of the nationwide lockdown.
Baghel said empowering the states will definitely enhance their ability to fight the virus and Chhattisgarh government is always ready to cooperate with the Centre and other state governments.
To bring the economy back on track, it is necessary to restart business and commercial activities with all precautions, he said, adding, 'Permission should be given to allow sale of essential as well as non-essential items in all areas except containment zones. All types of showrooms and workshops related to purchase of vehicles should be allowed to operate.' Baghel said all types of e-commerce activities could also be given a go-ahead.
Hotel industry should be permitted to provide only lodging facility with the condition of maintaining social distancing. Restaurants, bar, spa etc in these hotels should not be given any relaxation, he said.
The chief minister further suggested that independently working technician, electrician, mechanics and others should be allowed and permitted to open shops for their tools and equipment.
Construction works in urban areas should be approved provided that social distancing is maintained. However, permission for transportation facility for labourers should be made mandatory, he said.
On demarcation of areas as red, orange and green zones, Baghel said the Centre should set transparent criteria for giving states a free hand to categorize various districts into zones. PTI SKC NSD