Maharashtra lockdown extension: From August 1, Maharashtra will witness gradual unlocking but Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has said that he was never in favour of complete lifting of the coronavirus-induced lockdown in the state only to address the economic concerns. The state will never be completely free from lockdowns, the CM hinted as he said, “I will never say that the lockdown will be lifted completely. But I have started reopening a few things gradually. Once reopened, it shouldn’t be shut again. Hence, I prefer taking steps in phases. You can’t just think about the economy or health. There needs to be a balance between the two.” Also Read - Maharashtra Extends Lockdown Till June 1, Mandates Negative RT-PCR Report For Those Entering State

From July 1, Maharashtra began “Mission Begin Again” with an aim to facilitate more and more unlocking. But the mission floundered as several districts announced fresh lockdown. Also Read - Maharashtra Cabinet Urges State Govt to Extend Full Lockdown Till May 31 | Highlights

In a free-wheeling chat with Sena mouthpiece Saamana, the CM said, “Many people are opposing lockdown. They say that lockdown is affecting the economy. To such people, I would say that I am ready to lift the lockdown, but if people die due to it, would you take the responsibility?… Even we are concerned about the economy.” Also Read - Full Lockdown in Maharashtra to be Extended by 2 More Weeks? Major Decision by State Cabinet Today

On the restarting of the suburban railway network in Mumbai, he said, “What if families fall ill and their houses are sealed? Therefore, everything would be done step-by-step.”

“I am not Donald Trump. I cannot see my people suffer in front of my eyes,” he said.

Mumbai locals have started operations only for essential staff. While there are talks going on to allow gyms and shopping malls to function, Mumbai local trains are not coming back any time soon as there is no possibility of maintaining social distance.

(With Agency Inputs)