New Delhi: Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba held a meeting with Municipal Commissioners and District Magistrates of 13 worst-hit cities including the national and the economic capital, as far as COVID-19 is concerned, to review the situation.
The meeting assumes significance as these 13 cities are considered to be the worst coronavirus-affected locations and constitute about 70 per cent of the positive cases in the country.
The 13 focus cities are Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Thane, Pune, Hyderabad, Kolkata and adjoining Howrah, Indore, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Chengalpattu and Thiruvallur. The last two cities are from Tamil Nadu. However, Maharashtra was the only state with three cities in the 13 worst-hit cities of India.
Gauba not only interacted with the men on ground - Municipal Commissioners and District Magistrates, but also Chief Secretaries of all States and Union Territories concerned. During the course of the meeting, Gauba reviewed the measures taken by the officials and the staff of the municipal corporations for the management of COVID-19.
The central government has already issued guidelines on management of COVID-19 in urban settlements.
The Cabinet Secretary asked the officials of the worst-affected cities to focus their work on high risk factors, indices such as confirmation rate, fatality rate, doubling rate and tests per million people among others.
The Centre categorically told the city officials that containment zones are to be geographically defined based on factors like mapping of cases and contacts and their geographical dispersion. This would enable in demarcating a well defined perimeter and enforcing the strict protocol of lockdown, Gauba added. However, municipal corporations can decide if residential colonies, mohallas, municipal wards or police-station areas, municipal zones, towns can be designated as containment zones, as required.
The cities were advised that the areas should be appropriately defined by the district administration and local urban body with technical inputs from local level.
As the countrywide lockdown 4.0 is to end on May 31, the meeting is significant considering the new strategy of the Central government against the virus which has crippled not only the lives of people but also the economy, which has been passing through its worst phase.
However, given the Centre's thrust of containment plans in these 13 cities, it is clear that the union government wants to ensure further opening up of the economy in these cities doesn't amount to aggravating the situation.