Bengal: ‘Lockdown extended, state & Centre on same page,’ says CM

“We had earlier stated that we would wait for the Centre’s decision and won’t have a differing opinion. The Prime Minister today said the lockdown will be extended till April 30. So, we have no difference of opinion," the CM said.




Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday announced extension of the coronavirus lockdown in West Bengal till April 30, following her meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

During her daily press briefing, Banerjee said, “We had earlier stated that we would wait for the Centre’s decision and won’t have a differing opinion. The Prime Minister today said the lockdown will be extended till April 30. So, we have no difference of opinion. The Prime Minister also said the next two weeks will be very critical. We have to be more careful and stay indoors.”

Giving details about the meeting with Modi, Banerjee said she had urged the Centre to clear GST dues worth Rs 2,393 crore. She also said she had asked the Centre to create a package of Rs 10 lakh crore for all states. “Our government announced Rs 1.7 lakh crore, which is less than 1% of the GDP. We demanded this be increased to Rs 10 lakh crore, which is 6% of the GDP.”

She said the state has no income now, and it would be difficult to manage without the package. “The PM has listened. Thanks to him. He said he would take 2-3 days to look into it,” she added.

The CM said she differed with the PM on 2-3 points. “ CSR funds can only be given to the Prime Minister’s disaster fund, and not to the state’s relief fund. We opposed this. I told the PM this is an attack on the federal structure of the country.”

“I asked the PM to cross-check all news. Don’t belief in fake news. Many patients are coming with recurring problems of pneumonia, kidney diseases. Their coronavirus positive report came at the time of death or after death. We are sending all the reports to our audit committee. They are taking a final decision on whether that person died of corona or not. Some people are provoking on these small issues,” Banerjee said.

Emphasising the importance of a strict lockdown with a human face, the CM said that markets can operate from 10 am to 6 pm. “If time (of markets staying open) increases, the crowd will not come at one time. We also ordered scattering the market, specially in sensitive areas.”

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