Lockdown: UP govt to boost industrial activity in less infected districts

Health workers work on samples of swab test of police personnel inside a Covid-19 testing mobile van. Photo: PTI
The Uttar Pradesh government will boost industrial activity and infrastructure projects in those districts that have low coronavirus infection load.

Earlier, the Adityanath government had announced that it was deferring the conditional restarting of select industries from Monday (April 20) in districts that have more than 10 active cases of coronavirus.

This means 19 out of 75 districts have failed to avail industrial activity relaxation provided by the Centre. These 19 districts house all the major industrial hubs in UP viz. Gautam Buddh Nagar (Noida), Agra, Lucknow, Kanpur, Meerut, Ghaziabad, Varanasi, Moradabad, Firozabad, Saharanpur, and Rampur, among others.

Chairing a review meeting in Lucknow today, chief minister Adityanath directed officials to facilitate reopening of industrial units in the remaining districts by resolving their grievances with regard to passes, transportation and other issues. However, he said they must follow the social distancing and lockdown norms.

“These units are mandated to be equipped with thermal scanners and providing for proper food and lodging of their employees within the premises itself,” UP additional chief secretary Awanish Kumar Awasthi told the media here this evening.

So far, more than 7,000 industrial units employing 126,000 workers have been made operational in the state. Besides, the government has restarted work on expressway and road projects totalling about Rs 45,000 crore across Uttar Pradesh.

While, the UP Expressway Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) has started work on three mega expressways -- Purvanchal Expressway, Bundelkhand Expressway and Gorakhpur Link Expressway -- with the collective project cost estimated at over Rs 42,000 crore, the state Public Works Department (PWD) has launched road projects worth Rs 2,800 crore, employing 3,727 workers.

Meanwhile, the state has also decided to focus on containing the disease in those districts, which have more than 20 active cases. The government will depute senior administration, medical and police officers each for such 15 districts. These officers will stay put in their respective districts for a week and enforce the lockdown strictly.

Besides, the government has made operational more than 53,000 fertiliser, 35,000 pesticide and 36,000 seed shops across the state, so that the farmers do not face any shortage in the ongoing zaid sowing season, which is a short season between kharif (summer) and rabi (winter) season in the months of March to July. Zaid crops are grown on irrigated land and do not depend upon monsoon for irrigation.

“More than 812,000 hectares of zaid crop sowing has been completed and only 2 per cent of estimated sowing is left,” he said adding UP mentha acreage totalled 200,000 hectares this year.

So far, UP has reported total 1,507 coronavirus cases across 56 districts, of which 187 have been discharged, while 21 persons succumbed, thus leaving 1,299 active cases. Now, 30 districts have been declared free of coronavirus, after all the active cases were discharged.--

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