In a massive development, the Uttar Pradesh government has permitted workers to resume construction work on government projects from April 15, Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said on Monday. The workers have been instructed to follow the norms of social distancing as a precaution against COVID-19.
"Construction on government projects will resume from April 15 in Uttar Pradesh while maintaining norms of social distqancing by workers," Maurya told ANI.
He said the decision to resume construction work in UP was taken in a committee meeting, constituted by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. The meeting was attended by the Principal Secretaries of all construction-related departments.
The 21-day lockdown, which was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24, to prevent the spread of coronavirus, is scheduled to end on April 14. However, six states have already announced extension of the lockdown till April end. Moreover, the Centre has also proposed to extend the nationwide lockdown to curb the increasing spread of COVID-19 epidemic.
The Uttar Pradesh government would encourage institutions and agencies to purchase food grains directly from the growers at minimum support price (MSP) or higher, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said on Sunday.
"At the meeting, the chief minister said since harvesting season is on, farmers should be allowed to move. Apart from government purchasing centres, if other institutions and agencies want to buy crops directly from farmers, they would be encouraged to do so provided the price is on par with the MSP or above," Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi told reporters.
On Monday, the Uttar Pradesh government said it has made preparations for the purchase of wheat and taking steps to ensure that farmers do not face any hardship amid the nationwide lockdown.
The state government looks to buy 55 lakh metric tonnes of wheat at a rate of Rs 1,925 per quintal (100 kg) at 5,500 purchase centres, a release issued by the state government stated. The release also mentioned that an online token system has been introduced to ensure that there is no crowding at market yards, Principal Secretary Agriculture, Agriculture Marketing and Agriculture Foreign Business, Devesh Chaturvedi said.
(With inputs from agencies)