Odisha on Thursday became the first state in the country to extend the ongoing lockdown in the state till April 30 to effectively contain the spread of coronavirus. In the second phase of lockdown, the state government has offered some relief measures to the people who work in the Agricultural sector or are related to it. According to a local media report, the government has lifted restrictions for all agricultural activities.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik led government has allowed the transportation of seeds, movement of tractors during the second phase of lockdown. According to the report, all the vegetables will be procured directly from farmer producer organisations and all the cold storages and godowns will be kept open.
"During ongoing lockdown period amid COVID-19 crisis, your discipline and sacrifice has provided us the strength to fight COVID-19," said Chief Minister Patnaik when he made the announcement of extending the lockdown in a video message. The decision was announced after a cabinet meeting where the importance and need of the extension were discussed at length.
Naveen Patnaik announced, "At this crucial juncture, one has to decide between protecting the lives of people and economic activity. We will recommend to Government of India to extend the national lockdown up to April 30. In addition to this, we will also request the Union Government not to start airline and railway services till April 30," said a statement from the Odisha government.
The Odisha government will also take special measures for various sectors. Activities related to agriculture, animal husbandry and MGNREGS will be facilitated during the lockdown period following social distancing norms, the statement added.
CM Patnaik also said, "As has been stated earlier, there will not be any problem in the transport of goods. We are leaving no stone unturned in scaling up COVID-19 testing and treatment facilities. We propose to conduct one lakh rapid tests in the state at the earliest possible time."
No new coronavirus cases were reported as of 8:00 AM on Apr 13 in Odisha, according to data released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. This brings the total reported cases of coronavirus in Odisha to 54. Among the total people infected as on date, 12 have recovered and 1 has passed away.
(With Agency inputs)