HYDERABAD: The Telangana government is expected to hold a special meeting of the state cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, in Pragati Bhavan at 3 pm on Saturday. The cabinet is likely to decide on the most-talked about issue of extending COVID-19 lockdown in the state beyond April 14th.
During this special cabinet meeting, CM KCR is expected to extensively discuss with his cabinet colleagues all the measures initiated by his government to contain the spread of coronavirus in the state.
Currently, there is intense speculation that the state government is all likely to decide in favour of extending the lockdown beyond April 14th, the day the 21-day nationwide lockdown would formally end. Only on Thursday, Odisha became the first state in the country to extend the lockdown in the state after the state cabinet led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik weighed in favour of it.
In fact, KCR was the first among the chief ministers of India to make a strong pitch for the lockdown extension a few days ago. Addressing the media then, he categorically stated that lifting the lockdown so soon without fully curbing the Coronavirus spread could prove catastrophic. He came up with the examples of how most advanced countries like the United States of America, Italy and Spain are clueless on combating the killer contagion.
Revealing to the media that he himself had personally appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to lift the lockdown so soon, he cautioned the people that people’s lives become the utmost priority and it takes precedence over even the economy that collapsed due to the COVID-19 induced lockdown.
After KCR’s open statement, at least six other states joined the chorus pressing the Centre for extending the lockdown period for some more time. Even the Centre appeared to have dropped enough hints that the situation is not conducive for the lifting of the lockdown in the country and whatever needs to be done, should be done in a phased manner.
Against this backdrop, expectations are in the air that the KCR-led Telangana government would also go the same route as Naveen Patnaik of Odisha and announce the extension of lockdown. The state cabinet, in the event of taking such a decision, is likely to make a formal request to the Centre to this effect.
The Telangana cabinet meeting is also likely to discuss the crippled economic situation in the state, and the future course of action after lifting the lockdown restrictions and several other issues.