Even as the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak in Maharashtra continues to exacerbate, and the number of positive coronavirus cases rising precipitously, threatening to overwhelm the public health system, the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government in the state has refused the central government’s move to deploy the Armed Forces and stem the inexorable spread of the virus in the country’s financial capital, says a report published in Sakal.
The number of positive coronavirus cases in the city of Mumbai, one of the largest and most dense Indian cities, are surging uncontrollably. A large number of infected people detected from various suburbs of Mumbai such as Worli, Dharavi, Andheri, Jogeshwari, Byculla, Powai, Dongri, Grant Road, Santacruz, Chembur, Govandi, Malad, Dadar and Kandivali have amplified the fears of a possible transition of the contagion into community transmission stage.
With the state government’s inability to effectively implement the lockdown and deter people from breaching the restrictions, the centre had planned to send in Army to take control of the city and blunt the soaring spread of the virus. Despite the number of positive COVID-19 cases surging uncontrollably in the city, people in Mumbai continued thronging the streets in flagrant violation of the lockdown orders. The centre had therefore planned to station Army in the city, specifically in areas such as Dharavi, Ray Road, Mankhurd, Mohammad Ali Road and Bhiwandi in Thane.
However, the plan was suddenly dropped after the Uddhav Thackeray government remained obstinate in denying the Army intervention in the station amidst a spiralling crisis. According to the report, the Maharashtra leadership is racked with misgivings that if the Indian Army is allowed to take over the reins of Mumbai, the powers vested in state and local administration would be effectively lost and the central government would dominate the city with the presence of the federal armed forces. It is because of this fear, the report says, that the Maharashtra state government, which has so far bungled spectacularly in its response to confront the coronavirus, refused Army intervention in Mumbai.
Maharashtra is the worst-affected state from the scourge of coronavirus in India. About 2064 positive COVID-19 cases have been registered in the state, out of which more than half of them have been reported from the city of Mumbai alone. Yesterday, 217 positive coronavirus cases were reported by the BMC with 16 fatalities.