PM meeting with CMs: Uddhav Thackeray seeks national policy to stop crowding

He also requested that states should be given the maximum number of vaccine doses possible, prices of essential medicines should be controlled and assistance should be provided to states in setting up 'centres of excellence' for post-Covid treatment.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to formulate a national policy to stop crowding due to religious, social and political gatherings to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Thackeray, in a virtual meeting held by the PM with six chief ministers, made the suggestion while briefing him about the concrete steps taken by Maharashtra to tackle the second wave of Covid-19 and its preparedness for a possible third wave, said a statement from the CM secretariat.

“Though the number of Covid-19 cases is decreasing, the second wave is yet to fully subside. Not just in Maharashtra, but everywhere people are stepping out of their houses and crowding at various places. Revenge tourism and revenge shopping have started, leading to crowding. Religious and political gatherings have also led to crowding. While the state is making all efforts to stop crowding, a comprehensive policy should be formulated at the national level,” said Thackeray in the meeting.

He also requested that states should be given the maximum number of vaccine doses possible, prices of essential medicines should be controlled and assistance should be provided to states in setting up ‘centres of excellence’ for post-Covid treatment.

“At present, highest number of Covid-19 cases can be found in around 10 districts of Konkan and western Maharashtra. In these districts, two vaccine doses have to be given to 2.06 crore people above 18 years of age. As of now, 87.90 lakh doses have been given in these districts. So, if an additional 3 crore doses are provided, then priority can be given to ensure complete vaccination in these districts,” he added.

Thackeray further said that as per the Union government’s norms, the state would require 4,000 metric tonne (MT) of oxygen daily during the possible third wave. “The state has the capacity to produce 2,000 MT of oxygen. The Centre should provide assistance to get the remaining 2,000 MT from Bhilai, Jamnagar and Bellary steel plant,” he added. Maharashtra is setting up 530 pressure swing adsorption oxygen plants and a oxygen management plan for each district has been formulated, said the CM.

Thackeray informed the PM that the state has set up a task force for the industries to ensure that they remain operational in case of future Covid-19 waves. He also requested the PM to control the prices of medicines like Monoclonal antibodies that cost between Rs 50,000 and Rs 60,000 per dose. “Even if 50,000 patients have to be given the drug in the third wave, it will cost Rs 300 crore. Considering this, the Centre should regulate the prices of such drugs and ensure that they are easily available,” he added.

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