Amid rising cases of coronavirus, Congress leader and former CM Prithviraj Chavan demanded on Saturday that the Maharashtra government should pay Rs 5,000 per month as unemployment allowance to rickshaw and taxi drivers who have valid permits.
In a letter to chief minister CM Uddhav Thackeray, Chavan said that there are 10.6 lakh rickshaw drivers and 2.75 lakh taxi drivers with permits in the state. They are facing hardship because of lockdown to contain coronavirus, he said, pointing out that the Delhi government has decided to give taxi and rickshaw drivers Rs 5,000.
"The Maharashtra government should follow suit just as it has decided to pay Rs 2,000 to construction workers," he said. "As per the World Bank, the definition of below poverty line is (income of) Rs 144 per day. The rickshaw and taxi drivers fall in the unorganized sector which is facing trouble. The details of taxi and rickshaw drivers with permits are available with the RTO," the former chief minister said.
Sources in the Maharashtra government informed Republic TV earlier in the day that there was no possibility of lifting the lockdown in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region and the Pune Metropolitan Region after May 3, when the national lockdown is set to end. As per these sources, such regions in the state shall continue to remain under lockdown due to the increasing number of cases. It is likely that the current restrictions will remain in place at least till June.
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Maharashtra witnessed a huge leap in novel coronavirus cases after 811 confirmed novel coronavirus cases were reported on Saturday. This has propelled the state's COVID-19 tally to 7628. With a rise of 602 cases since Friday, Mumbai has now recorded 5049 cases and 191 deaths. The Maharashtra Public Health Department mentioned that 1076 persons had been discharged after full recovery.
22 deaths- 13 in Mumbai, 4 in Pune and one each in Pune rural, Malegaon, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Dhule, and Solapur were reported in the day, taking the death toll in Maharashtra to 323. 13 of the deceased persons had high-risk co-morbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma, heart disease, TB, etc. A total of 1,08,972 samples have been collected so far. Currently, 1,25,393 individuals are in home quarantine while 8,124 others have been admitted to a quarantine facility. There are 555 active containment zones in Maharashtra.