Covid-19: Maha CM forms 'Task Force for Industry'

Mumbai, Jul 12 (IANS): With the threat of a third wave of Covid-19 looming large, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday directed the formation of a 'Task Force for Industry'.

The Task Force for Industry would be monitored directly by the Chief Minister's Office to ensure that the state's economic cycle and industrial production continues unhindered even during the pandemic situation.

"Maharashtra has set an example for the whole country when industries continued to operate without hindrance even during the Covid-19 pandemic last year," Thackeray said, addressing an online meeting of top corporates and industry honchos.

Some of the prominent personalities present at the meeting were representatives of the CII, Uday Kotak, Jane Karkada, Niranjan Hiranandani, Harsh Goenka, Salil Parekh, Neel Raheja, Anant Goenka, Baba Kalyani, B. Thiagarajan, Anant Singhania, Banmali Agrawala, Nikhil Meswani, Ashwin Yardi, Rashesh Shah, Keshav Murugesh, Bharat Puri, Asim Charania, Sunil Mathur, Sanjeev Singh, Naushad Forbes, D.K. Sen, Sulajja Firodia-Motwani, Sharad Mahindra, among others.

Thackeray pointed out that the state was fully geared to combat the potential 'third wave' with oxygen production and stocks, planning mass vaccination of industrial workers, continuing the economic cycle despite tightening of restrictions, arrangements for temporary field accommodation for employees in the company premises, and other measures.

State Industry Minister Subhash Desai, Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte, Additional Health Secretary Pradeep Vyas and other top officials discussed various aspects of tackling the upcoming health scenario on the government side.

Thackeray pointed out that currently around 1,300 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen is produced daily in the state which is expected to be scaled up by more than double if the coronavirus challenges increase.

He urged all the corporates to get their employees and workers vaccinated on a mass scale, especially since private hospitals have been given stocks of around 25 per cent Covid-19 vaccine doses by the Centre.

The CM also called upon small and big enterprises to continue safe production by creating a 'bio-bubble system' within the Covid protocols and plan out shifts to avoid crowds without increasing stress on any facility.

Thackeray cautioned however that in view of the new Delta strain, more vigil must be maintained, and pointed out that many countries have started re-imposing public restrictions on a large scale.

Vyas said that in the first wave, the state had 20 lakh cases, while in the second wave, the figure had more than doubled to 40 lakh in barely 2 to 3 months, and said the speed of the next (third) wave is anticipated to be much higher with increasing number of infections in western and coastal Maharashtra.

The corporate heads assured the state government of their fullest cooperation to ensure that the virus doesn't affect industrial production or industrial precincts.



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