The Uttarakhand government on Wednesday favoured extension of the nationwide lockdown to fight coronavirus and announced a salary cut of 30 per cent for all ministers and MLAs. The state cabinet decided to send a recommendation to the Centre seeking the extension, spokesperson Madan Kaushik said, citing the “sudden rise” of coronavirus cases after Tablighi Jamaat members returned to the state from a congregation in Delhi. The lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to end on April 14. Some states have indicated that they would like it to continue.
The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet is of the view that the return of Tablighi Jamaat members has caused a sudden rise in the number of coronavirus positive cases and therefore the lockdown should be extended, the spokesperson said. However, Kaushik said it is up to the Centre to take a call on the matter and the state government will follow whatever instructions it receives.
The Cabinet decided to launch an intense drive to locate suspected coronavirus cases among the Tablighi Jamaat members who have returned to the state and people who have come in contact with them, he said. It also asked the administration to book them under stringent sections of the Indian Penal Code if they don’t report themselves to the authorities.
At its meeting chaired by Chief Minister Trivevdra Singh Rawat, the Cabinet also decided to impose a cut of 30 per cent on the salaries of MLAs and ministers, besides reducing the constituency development fund given to each MLA every year by Rs 1 crore for two years.
The number of COVID-19 positive cases in Uttarakhand has seen a sudden jump with 25 people, mostly Jamaatis, testing positive over just a week, taking the number of total cases so far to 32.