Amidst the outbreak of the Wuhan Coronavirus, the Shivraj Singh-led-government in Madhya Pradesh has decided to transfer ₹700 crores to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, which were earlier kept aside by former Chief Minister Kamal Nath to conduct the IIFA (International Indian Film Academy) ceremonies in Bhopal and Indore.
The IIFA ceremonies were to be held in March 2020 and was planned to be telecasted in 90 countries at an expense of ₹700 crores. Kamla Nath wanted to use the mega event to promote his State. Even then, Shivraj Singh Chouhan had suggested the then MP Government reconsider its plans and instead use the money for farm loan waiver and flood relief.
“The IIFA event was planned as a big event in the state, however, in the present situation the amount to be spent on the mega ceremony will be transferred to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for COVID-19 assistance”, Shivraj Singh Chouhan was quoted as saying after the ceremony was cancelled. According to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Madhya Pradesh has reported a total of 259 live cases with 0 recoveries and 16 deaths as of April 10.
After a sudden spike in the number of coronavirus cases, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister on Wednesday ordered three major cities Indore, Bhopal, and Ujjain to be sealed completely. Alongside this, the government had also announced a complete lockdown of 14 districts amid the coronavirus threat.
The state government also invoked the Essential Services Management Act (ESMA) in the state with immediate effect to combat COVID-19 to ensure essential supplies and services are operational during this crisis. CM Shivraj Singh said, “The district administration should ensure the supply of essential commodities in these areas. No person will be able to go in and out of these areas. Services of all government departments and their resources should be taken in coronavirus related work.” The Chief Minister’s decision came after reviewing the situation with senior state officials.