No army deployment in Mumbai, but CM hints at lockdown extension

Mumbai, May 8 (IANS) Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday ruled out deployment of army to control crowds in Mumbai, but hinted at lockdown extension as the “virus chain” has not yet been broken.

In an address to the state late this evening, Thackeray dismissed all speculation raging since two days that Mumbai would be handed over to the Indian Army.

“There’s no need to bring in the army in Mumbai. Our police are very capable and doing a great job, but they also need rest. We have sought additional manpower from the Centre and later the police will be given relief in phases,” said Thackeray.

Admitting that the ‘virus chain’ has not yet been broken, he pointed out that Maharashtra continues to have the highest number of cases and deaths in the country which is a matter of serious concern.

“Soon, our stranded people from different parts of India and other countries in the world will also start arriving herea They will need to be tested. But that will not be at the cost of Mumbaikars where 100,000 tests are being carried out,” assured Thackeray.

Touching upon the lockdown extension, he said: “You – the people – will decide whether the lockdown needs to be extended. There are still too many people outside, in Mumbai and other places also, physical distancing is not maintained and other precautions are ignored. But if you will maintain discipline, the virus can be conquered.”

In this endeavour, Thackeray appealed to all medicos including homoeopaths and ayurvedics to register themselves with the state government and help out with treating Covid-19 patients at some of the huge quarantine centres in the city made functional in the city.

The CM also referred to the all-party video-conferencing he had with leaders of all political parties in the state on Thursday.

“They came up with many suggestions. We have already started implementing many of thema The meeting proved that the state is united in this hour of crisis,” Thackeray said.

The CM’s address came shortly after the government shunted out Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai Praveen Pardeshi and replaced him with senior IAS officer Iqbal Singh Chahal, besides making other high-level bureaucratic changes in BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation.



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