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Goa CM warns local bodies against self-imposed lockdowns

Panaji: Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Tuesday warned village panchayats and municipalities, several of whom have imposed sporadic lockdowns within their respective jurisdictions, to allow essential services to function. Sawant said such unplanned lockdowns could lead to panic and worsen the Covid-19 situation in the state.

Sawant’s statement comes after nearly a dozen village panchayats and municipalities imposed lockdowns within their jurisdiction limits from Monday, following the end of the four-day government enforced lockdown.

The Chief Minister said the state government was in the process of adding to the list of restrictions in Goa, which includes shutting down restaurants for walk-in guests, even though their kitchens could remain functional.

“Everyone has been talking about lockdown. When the state government enforces a lockdown, essential services are allowed to function. If they (panchayats) stop essential services, then they will end up creating more panic,” Sawant told the media at the Secretariat.

“I urge all panchayats and municipalities to open essential services 100 per cent or else they will face trouble and so will people of the state. People will indulge in panic buying,” he added.

As part of their lockdown, several village panchayats are not allowing outsiders to enter their village, while not allowing local residents to exit the village. Sawant said that this is not justifiable.

“Some village panchayats (under lockdown) and MLAs are not allowing people to go to work, including those who work in private and government hospitals. If they do not report to work, we will not be able to handle the pandemic. Many persons who are being blocked from going to work are employed by pharma companies. Even if one imposes a lockdown it does not mean you cannot allow others to step out of their homes,” Sawant said.

Sawant said instead of imposing separate lockdowns, panchayat authorities should follow government guidelines on Covid restrictions which are currently in place till May 10 during which all shops and establishments are allowed to operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“Panchayats and municipalities should follow the government’s guidelines. We will not need a separate lockdown,” the Chief Minister added.

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