After the Centre gave permission to lift some more restrictions for Unlock 3 on July 29, Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal on Friday (July 31) rejected the AAP government’s decision to allow hotels and weekly markets under the latest unlock plan.
The lieutenant governor who represents the Centre and is also chairs the Delhi Disaster Management Authority apparently took the decision as the COVID-19 situation continues to be “fragile” and the threat is still “far from over”.
The Delhi government termed the LGs decision as “incorrect” and stressed that reviving the city’s economy while containing COVID-19 is its “topmost priority”.
Meanwhile, the Aam Aadmi Party asked the Centre to stop interfering in decisions of the Delhi government and undermining its authority.
The development comes a day after Baijal overturned the Delhi Cabinet’s decision to reject the Delhi Police’s panel of lawyers for arguing the cases related to the February riots in the city in the Supreme Court and the high court. “The matter was discussed with Honble Chief Minister and it was agreed that while there has been improvement, pandemic situation in the capital continues to be fragile and the threat is still far from over. Therefore a cautious and conservative approach is required,” a statement issued by the LG office said.
“While the proposal to allow Rehari Patriwallahs to operate for longer hours w.e.f. from 01.08.2020 was approved , the proposals of opening of hotels and hospitality services and opening of weekly bazaars are deferred for the time being and would be reviewed later by the SDMA,” it added.
In a statement issued late in the evening, the Delhi government said they could send the proposal again for reconsideration by the lieutenant governor. “Revival of Delhi’s economy, while at the same time containing COVID-19, is the topmost priority of Delhi govt. The chief minister has always been a strong votary of opening economy,” the government said in the statement.
On Thursday, the Arvind Kejriwal government decided to allow hotels to reopen in the city. It also allowed weekly bazaars (markets) on a trial basis for seven days with social distancing and all necessary COVID 19-appropriate measures in place.
Talking to reporters, AAP spokesperson Raghav Chadha said, “The Centre derives sadistic pleasure by inflicting pain and misery on people of Delhi and undermining the democratically elected government of Delhi.” He further said that people had seen the Centre interfering in decisions of the Delhi government on several occasions in the past few days.
Delhi recorded 1,195 fresh coronavirus cases on Friday, taking the tally in the city to over 1.35 lakh, while the death toll from the disease mounted to 3,963, authorities said.
Twenty-seven fatalities have been recorded in the last 24 hours and the overall death toll in the city stood at 3,963 on Friday, they said.
According to the bulletin, 1,20,930 patients have recovered, been discharged or migrated so far. The number of people in home isolation stands at 5,763.
(With inputs from agencies)