Barring Chennai, the Tamil Nadu government may relax the lockdown restrictions in the rural parts of the state and allow the operation of the industries there with minimum manpower after May 3. An official decision would be taken after the state cabinet committee meeting scheduled on May 2.
During a video conference meeting with the Chennai Corporation Commissioner and the district collectors of the state, Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami had asked whether it was fine to relax the restrictions only in the rural parts of the state.
“Almost all the district collectors gave their nod and explained the status of the COVID-19 spread in their corresponding districts. Since most of the cases were from urban areas, we were fine in relaxing the restrictions in rural areas,” a district collector told The Federal on condition of anonymity.
Further, another district collector whom The Federal spoke to confirmed that the state government is of the opinion to revive industrial operations in rural areas with limited manpower.
“We have come across a lot of labourers from foundries and textile units, who were not in the company’s payroll. So, we cannot stress the organisation to pay the employee. At the same time, the labourers also feel ashamed to get food that we deliver every day and they request us to get them a job to work and earn for their living,” another collector said.
“So, we also recommended the functioning of industries with limited manpower in rural areas,” the collector added.
However, the district collectors were asked not to take any arbitrary decisions until an official order from the state government is issued.
“But we were asked to prepare for the relaxation in rural areas in a staggered manner,” the IAS officer said adding that it would also depend on the decisions taken by the Union Government.
Palaniswami in a statement said that he has asked the district collectors to send a detailed report on what are the business and works that can be started in a phased manner in each district.
“All the district collectors and local bodies have to take a survey on the number of migrant workers from other states and should send a detailed report about it, apart from making sure that they receive the rations regularly,” he said.
He also ordered to ensure that farming activities in rural areas are not affected and make way for farmers to transport their produce to the markets without any hurdle.
In order to control the spread of virus in Coimbatore, Trichy, Salem and Madurai Corporation, the Chief Minister said six special committees headed by IAS officers would be convened.
To ensure return of normalcy, the CM asked the district collectors to take proactive measures to convert all the districts in red (more than 15 cases or doubling time less than 4 days) and orange zones (less than 15 cases or no new case in last 14 days) to green zones (no new cases in last 28 days).
According to the state Health department, as many as 11 districts in the state have not reported any new cases of COVID-19 in the last 14 days while about 5 districts have not reported any new cases in the last 10 days.
On Wednesday (April 29), as many as 104 people tested positive for COVID-19, of which 94 patients were from Chennai while the four were from Chengalpattu, three from Kancheepuram, two in Virudhunagar and one in Tiruvallur.
As on Wednesday, the total number of COVID-infected in Tamil Nadu stands at 2,162, of which 922 people are still under the treatment, while the rest were discharged after treatment.