New Delhi: Ahead of May 3 — the official date of the lifting of the extended lockdown — as the Cente is taking several steps to ease the lockdown situation, speculations are rife whether the lockdown will be lifted or not. Also Read - Coronavirus in Noida: 27 Fresh Cases Reported in a Day, Total Active Cases Now 209; 4-Year-Old Recovers
Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting with key ministers and top officials of the government at his residence in 7 Lok Kalyan Marg on Friday. Also Read - COVID-19: Six-fold Jump in Cases, Five-fold Surge in Fatalities After a Month: Is Worst Yet to Come For India?
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The meeting is believed to have discussed the different scenarios the government may face after the nationwide lockdown ends on May 3. Though still premature, the possibility to explore options of allowing limited domestic flights under strict conditions can not be ruled out, said informed sources.
Air India has also asked its officials to be prepared to start operations from mid-May. So even if not from May 4, there are apparently plans to resume services in a staggered manner.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Commerce and Industry minister Piyush Goyal and Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri were among those who attended the crucial meeting. It was also attended by Cabinet Secretary Rajeev Gauba and the Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary.
The meeting is also believed to have discussed plying of limited special trains for taking the migrants home. A special train carrying migrants from Telangana to Jharkhand embarked on its journey at 5 pm on Friday. The train is being run as a test case.
India’s second leg of the lockdown ends on May 3. The Prime Minister in his last video conference with the chief ministers had asked them to return with specific plans on the lockdown. While many CMs favoured an extension of the current lockdown, states like Meghalaya have asked for a reprieve in the green zones. Many states like Punjab want greater economic activity to be allowed.
Zones: Regular review
The Centre has released a detailed map of statewise zones based on the risks of COVId-19. As of now, there are 130 red zones, 284 orange, 319 green zones. But over time, the classification will be reviewed.
The Centre has also allowed running of special trains for ferrying migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons, stranded at different places. Addressing a press conference, Joint Secretary in the MHA Punya Salila Srivastava said stranded people such as migrant workers, tourists, pilgrims and students can now be transported using trains. “States and the Railway Board will make the necessary arrangements for the same,” she said.