Mumbai: Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar on Wednesday said that the novel coronavirus will not be completely wiped out soon and it is imperative to "accept it as part of life" while limping back to normalcy.
"Coronavirus will not be completely eradicated shortly. It is necessary to accept it as part of life, beware of it, and create awareness among the masses about healthcare. In Japan, people wear masks and look after personal hygiene as part of their routine social life," Pawar said here.
He said the ongoing lockdown 4.0 has severely disrupted transport services and that necessary steps must be taken to gradually restore road transport within the state, besides planning for resumption of air and rail services.
The earlier situation must be restored in Maharashtra by relaxing some conditions of the lockdown, and arrangements made to convey information about relaxations to the people at a fixed time daily.
The NCP chief said he had discussed in detail the prevailing situation in the state with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, the challenges faced by the administration, and the preventive measures required to provide relief to various sections of society.
"The presence of state ministers and officials needs to be reinstated to build public confidence about the situation returning to normal in Maharashtra. Appropriate instructions should be issued to the ministers and officials to be present at their workplaces," Pawar said, implying ministers and officials must be seen leading from the front.
With migrants having left the state in large numbers, the NCP chief pointed out that "new employment opportunities have emerged for the unemployed in Maharashtra," and an action plan would have to be drawn up on how to accommodate them in the industries.
Two days ago, Thackeray had made a similar plea to the locals in Maharashtra, exhorting them to exploit the employment opportunities available in different industries and help rebuild the state.
Referring to earlier incentive schemes for industries in backward and underdeveloped areas, Pawar said new policies for encouraging industrial growth should be released to attract new investments in the state.
The three-time former Chief Minister of Maharashtra also expressed concern at the apparent slowing down of operations in public and private ports which has hit international maritime trade.
"To increase imports, exports and inland shipping, consultations should be held with industrialists, entrepreneurs and expert officials in the field. Shops, offices, establishments in the private sector should be opened in a staggered manner with complete caution," the NCP supremo said.
Reiterating his plea to the people to exercise precautions like wearing masks, gloves, sanitisers, washing hands etc, Pawar called upon the Information Department to spread social awareness among the masses on the preventive measures to tackle Covid-19.
Among the senior most political leaders in the country, Pawar, 79, has served as union minister for many years and as an opposition leader appointed as Vice-Chairman of the Disaster Management Committee by the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.