Mumbai: Former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis Sunday asked the Uddhav Thackeray-led state government to borrow money from the cash-rich Mumbai civic body and MMRDA to buy the equipment required in the fight against coronavirus.
Money should not be an excuse for delay in procurement of such items, he said speaking to a Marathi news channel.
“The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) have bank deposits worth thousands of crores, which can be utilised for raising money during the ongoing fight against the coronavirus outbreak,” the senior BJP leader said.
The BMC is controlled by the Shiv Sena, which is headed by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
Fadnavis said the state can utilise these funds for buying more testing kits, personal protective equipment (PPE-needed by health staff) and other necessary equipment.
“Once wheels of the economy start moving after some months, the borrowed money can be refunded. In any situation, money should not be an excuse for delay in procurement of such items,” the leader of opposition in the state Assembly said.
On the state government’s approach to curb the spread of the viral disease, he said, “The containment zone (system) seems to be working out. It is an important stage before we enter the third phase of community transmission,” he said.
He said the State Reserve Police Force can be used more effectively to keep people indoors during the lockdown. “At times, the state will have to be strict and take some unpopular decisions, but such strictness is necessary in the larger interest of the society. We are with this government,” he said.
“One of the reasons why people are coming out of their houses is irregular supply of food grains and fear of shortage.
“The state needs to work out some plan and set up a chain to supply food grains by rotation to every area. This would ensure its smooth supply and social distancing will also be maintained,” he said.
There are many states in the country, where such measures have been undertaken, he added. The state government also needs to take strong action against the food grain hoarders, Fadnavis said.
He also said that the state needs to work on the recommendations of the exit policy chalked out by the Centre, where it could offer some relaxations in areas where no coronavirus cases have been reported.
“The Centre’s recommendations are self-explanatory, but the state being the implementing agency, the (Thackeray-led) government needs to take some steps,” he added.