Uddhav Thackeray ‘scared’ of taking initiatives, Maha needs to start eco activity: Devendra Fadnavis

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NEW DELHI, May 21 (AGENCIES): Indecisiveness and strategic errors of the Maharashtra government have aggravated the COVID-19 crisis in the state, BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis said on Thursday and accused Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray of over dependence on bureaucracy as he is “scared” of taking initiatives.

Interacting with reporters through video conference, the former chief minister also asked the Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP government to prepare protocols to revive economic activities outside red zones and apprehended that Maharashtra otherwise may miss out on a “life time opportunity” to attract industries shifting out of China.

“We can’t sit back. We have to find a way to start economic activities outside red zones which the government has not been able to do so. Indecisiveness is its biggest problem… We have to live with COVID,” he said, noting that the state has always been the preferred destination for foreign investment in India.

Fadnavis painted a grim picture of the coronavirus situation in Mumbai and its suburbs, the worst affected region in the country, alleging that the state government’s priority now is to suppress infection figures by not testing adequately.

There are no beds available for COVID-19 patients in government hospitals in the city, while half of the beds in intensive care units (ICUs) of private hospitals are lying vacant due to the government’s flip flops on the matter, he said.

Private hospitals are charging Rs 30,000 from coronavirus affected patient per day for a bed, and giving these beds to those who have the capacity to pay, he said.

He said all this is happening despite the announcement of the state government that 80 per cent of beds in private hospitals belong to it.

“This government is not decisive. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackrey is new and is scared of taking action and is over dependent on bureaucracy,” Fadnavis said. Suggesting that the state bureaucracy is running the show in Maharashtra, Fadnavis, who is the leader of opposition in the assembly, said there are “warring factions” in it and any assertiveness of political leadership is missing.

He also said that the leaving of migrants from the state may hit its economic revival plans. It appears that the state government wanted them to leave as it made little efforts to stop them, the BJP leader said. Underlining that Mahrashtra has always been a preferred destination for foreign investment in India, Fadnavis said but the state government is less proactive in starting the industry.

The coalition government will fall on its own due to cracks in the alliance, he said to a question.

Speaking of the government’s strategic errors that led to the spread of COVID-19, he said it failed to effectively enforce the lockdown when it began in the last week of March and also decided not to test high-risk contacts if they were asymptomatic. Quarantine centres are in a bad shape and there is no control over administration, he said.

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