NEW DELHI: In an official meeting on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told lawmakers that the ongoing nationwide lockdown in India may be extended by 15 days, as the government raced to head off the challenge posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
According to reports, the final decision of extending the lockdown that will be ending on 14 April will taken after a meeting with all chief ministers on 11 April.
Speaking to the media, Pinaki Misra, member of Parliament from Odisha’s Biju Janata Dal (BJD) who represented his party at the meeting, said, “The prime minister said it may not be possible to lift the lockdown on 15 April, going by the feedback that he is getting from across the country. He will discuss with the chief ministers and thereafter may take a call as to by how many days the lockdown can be extended."
Earlier, states such as Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana have demanded that the lockdown be extended by at least 15 days.
If the lockdown is extended further, it will lead to further disruption to the livelihoods of India’s more than 400 million daily wage earners who have little or no savings to tap. But many senior officials including chief minsters are advocating lives over livelihoods to rein in the deadly virus.
“He did not declare clearly what was on his mind but there was enough indication that he felt lifting of lockdown at this stage could be difficult. He, however, said that the Union government will take a final call only after the meeting with chief ministers on Saturday," a senior leader and Rajya Sabha member who attended the meeting on Wednesday said to the media.
The 21-day nationwide was imposed by PM Modi on March 24 to curb the spread of deadly COVID-19 across the country. (Inputs From LiveMint)