Uddhav Thackeray Seeks "Cooperation" For Covid Fight, Waives Farm Loans

The Maharashtra State Assembly allocated Rs 10,500 crore towards waiving loans of 29 lakh famers amid widespread floods and the coronavirus pandemic.

Uddhav Thackeray Seeks 'Cooperation' For Covid Fight, Waives Farm Loans

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced loan waiver for 29 lakh farmers. (File)

Mumbai:

The Shiv Sena chief's appeal for a united fight came hours after protests by BJP MLAs, who raised slogans that the state's ruling NCP-Congress-Shiv Sena combine was not paying attention to coronavirus. On Monday, MLAs had moved breach of privilege motions against journalist Arnab Goswami and actor Kangana Ranaut, who has criticised the Maharashtra government for its handling of the Sushant Singh Rajput death case.

Detailing how the state government has strengthened its Covid care infrastructure, Mr Thackeray said the state government has decided to build jumbo Covid care facilities "wherever required", not just Mumbai as the "hospitals weren't that good" till now.

"In March, Maharashtra had three (Covid testing) laboratories, now we have 530 in the state. In the early days, there were 7,700 beds, now we have more than 3.5 lakh beds," he said.

"We are learning how to live with corona. Covid has stopped the world, so we need to take several precautions. After 15th (September), I am starting a new campaign and I need your support. It is called My Family, My Responsibility," the Chief Minister said.

He also urged people in small towns and slums to only go out "if required". Our aim is to ensure state's Covid count reduces, he said announcing a Chase The Virus-like measures for the entire state so "we reach the virus before it reaches a place".

The Maharashtra Legislative Assembly today passed by voice vote the supplementary demands of Rs 29,084 crore for this fiscal, out of which Rs 50 crore was proposed for purchase of ambulances for rural and urban areas. A major - Rs 10,500 crore - was allocated to farmer loan waiver.

"The government is trying to ensure the farmers don't just get a loan waiver, but their condition improves," Mr Thackeray said.

In a veiled attack at the previous BJP-led state government's decision to cut trees at Mumbai's Aarey Colony while the matter was sub judice, he said, "We don't believe in short cuts. We don't cut trees at night. In the Aarey carshed issue, we are taking all precautions and looking for options."

The House also passed two state GST amendment bills to bring uniformity between the state and the Central GST.

Meanwhile, Health minister Rajesh Tope said a special cell will be set up to check side effects in the patients who have recovered from COVID-19 infection and key coronavirus drug Remdesivir will be given to patients at the state government's expense.