Lifting the lockdown restrictions for construction work and also for manufacturing and production units in the national capital, which will come into effect from Monday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Friday that the administration will take a decision on allowing activities in the city phase-wise.
Delhi’s Covid management body, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), which is being chaired by Delhi Lt. Governor Anil Baijal, on Friday decided that lifting of the lockdown will proceed like it was imposed — week-wise.
After DDMA’s meeting was over, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal through a digital press conference said, “The Government has to take care of the lowest strata first, which includes daily wagers, labourers, and migrant workers who come to Delhi from far off areas for livelihood. This category of personnel are usually found in the construction field and in factories.”
He added, “In the meeting, it was decided that to avoid losing the advantage gained in the past month, everyone is of the opinion that we must open phase-wise. There has to be some balance. Every week, based on suggestions from citizens and expert opinion, we will keep opening up progressively. If the rate of infection increases again, we will put the unlocking on hold. So everyone must maintain caution.”
Beginning Monday, production units will be allowed to function in industrial areas within confines or manufacturing premises. In specified compounds, workers will also be allowed to carry out construction activities. The restrictions will remain the same and no other activity will be allowed till the DDMA takes a further decision on it.
Meanwhile, the government’s decision to allow only construction and production units did not go down well with the market associations and they have expressed unhappiness.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said that curbing the spread of coronavirus is the priority of not only the government but also of the traders and citizens, but when the positivity rate is about 1.5 per cent, the markets in Delhi should also have been allowed to open, may be in a phased manner.
“Construction activities and factories provide livelihood to migrant workers, which is half baked only. More than 15 lakh small and big traders of Delhi are providing employment to more than 35 lakh employees who are largely migrant people and as such for their livelihood, the shops are also eligible to open,” said Praveen Khandelwal, general secretary of CAIT.
Though the complete lockdown in Delhi was announced on April 19, the administration had put a ban on all social, political, religious, cultural, festival related gatherings by the end of March.
During the period of complete lockdown, Delhi had reported the highest Covid cases in a day on April 20 — 28,395, while highest daily positivity rate was over 36 per cent on April 22. And after one month of lockdown, Delhi on Friday reported 1,141 new cases and the daily positivity rate stands below 2 per cent from the last one week.