In what appears as a tacit acknowledgement by Uddhav Thackeray that the aggressively promoted “Worli Model” was nothing but a PR campaign gone awry, the Maharashtra chief minister today asked the district heads to follow the Goa model of surveying house-to-house and treating all the suspected COVID-19 patients.
Making it amply clear that there are no plans in the offing to relax the lockdown restrictions and opening up of district borders, Thackeray asked the district authorities over video conferencing on Tuesday to submit their plans to the centre on how they intend to ease restrictions during Lockdown 4.0 by Friday. He also asked them to focus their efforts on containment zones and take preventive measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
According to an official privy to the instructions issued by Thackeray, district authorities in Maharashtra have been asked by the chief minister to imitate the pattern adopted by Goa and initiate house-to-house surveys to inspect for symptoms of coronavirus along with other monsoon-related diseases to prevent the illness.
Besides, Thackeray added that even when the lockdown restrictions are relaxed in the impending future, the district boundaries will remain sealed, citing the massive movement of migrant labourers. While evaluating the situation of the Green, Orange and Red zones in Maharashtra, Thackeray instructed district collectors and divisional commissioners to assess if the mass departure of migrants in their districts had led to a shortage of manpower, and fill it with locals.
While the Shiv Sena supremo advised the district authorities to follow the Goa model in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak in their regions, it is worth noting that he has asked to follow a model from a state which has only registered 7 cases till date. Maharashtra, on the other hand, has been leading the tally of the states with the highest number of coronavirus infection and has today reported 1,495 new COVID-19 cases and 54 deaths, taking state caseloads to 25,922 and mortalities to 975.
Maharashtra’s total cases account for a staggering 33 per cent of India’s total coronavirus cases. On the flip side, Goa had declared itself coronavirus-free after all the 7 patients in the state had recovered from the contagion. By drawing a preposterous parallel with the Goa’s model, Maharashtra chief minister has betrayed his poor grasp of the situation, presumably leading to the crisis that Maharashtra finds itself in.
The sham of “Worli Model”
Of late, an attempt was being made by the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra to tout the Worli Koliwada Model as a perfect example of the containment zone in the country to cover up its apparent shortfalls in dealing with the raging coronavirus crisis in the state.
A five-member Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT), headed by an additional secretary, Manoj Joshi, was on a two-day visit in Mumbai on April 21 to assess the state’s preparedness in battling the coronavirus outbreak. However, as the IMCT visit in Mumbai was about to conclude, a spurious report was published in the Times of India claiming that the IMCT team which was in the city to review the state’s readiness in fighting the spread of the coronavirus “felt” that Worli Koliwada can be a perfect model for the rest of the country in containing the coronavirus outbreak.
The article published in the Times of India cited a press release issued by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) to claim that additional secretary Manoj Joshi hailed the Worli Koliwada model as the best example of the coronavirus-free zone in the country, asserting that the model is worth replicating in other areas to break the virus chain. It was overzealously shared by Rajya Sabha member Priyanka Chaturvedi, who claimed that Maharashtra’s handling of the crisis has been outstanding and worth emulating.
But when OpIndia had spoken to a few officials about Mr Joshi’s supposed praises for the model, they denied the knowledge of any such model existing and expressed apprehensions that Joshi could have been misquoted. While our attempts to reach Mr Joshi had failed, sources had claimed that Times Of India had misquoted the official, presumably, due to the press release by the state government.