MUMBAI: CM Uddhav Thackeray, in two letters to PM Modi on Tuesday, raised concerns over the spike in Covid cases in Maharashtra and stated that according to projections, the state’s caseload is expected to double from 5.64 lakh to 11.9 lakh in the next two weeks. Thackeray said the state needs more liquid oxygen and the requirement could be 2,000 metric tonnes by month-end against the current consumption of 1,200 MT.
Thackeray wrote two letters to PM Modi on the first day of the Marathi new year, Gudi Padwa (April 13), seeking his cooperation in the light of emerging challenges due to the second wave of Covid-19.
The CM stated there were 10.5 lakh active cases in the country during the September 2020 peak. “Based on the current projections and highly transparent testing, the state alone expects 11.9 lakh active cases in the state by the month end,” he wrote.
He further said the biggest concern was to get liquid medical oxygen. Thackeray said the state is crossing its manufacturing capacity, that is 1200 MT, and projected demand for oxygen will be 2,000 MT by April 30.
Thackeray sought permission to airlift and transport oxygen from steel plants in the eastern and southern parts of the country under the National Disaster Management Act. He welcomed Centre’s decision to ban export of Remdesivir and demanded that authorities grant compulsory licence as per Section 92 of Indian Patents Act to facilitate approval to exporting units to produce and sell Remdesivir in domestic markets.
The CM also urged the PM to declare the pandemic a ‘natural calamity’ so that the state can use the state disaster response fund (SDRF) to provide financial assistance to those impacted. The state has been allocated Rs 4,294 crore for the year under the SRDF and has already approached the Centre to disburse at least 25% for various Covid-19 management measures. The state is expecting Rs 800 crore as the first instalment from the Centre. The CM said notifying the pandemic as a natural calamity would allow the state to pay relief of Rs 100 per adult per day and Rs 60 per child per day during the period of lockdown to those registered under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana and priority household ration card holders.