Mumbai, Warning of a possible “third wave of Covid-19”, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday appealed to India Inc. to make all-out preparations to counter it right now and ensure it doesn’t hit the state’s industry and economy.
Urging the corporate houses and industrialists to collaborate with the state government to combat the current and upcoming crises. Thackeray said India Inc. could contribute immediately by setting up Covid care facilities on their plants and premises and plans ‘Covid-compatible workplaces’ for the future.
“Presently, the state is in dire need of oxygen, and currently the entire production is being utilised for medical purposes. Given the number of new patients coming up daily (around 60K daily), we need a lot more oxygen for which the industries can help out,” Thackeray said, in an interaction with some of the leading business houses and corporate groups.
Health Secretary Dr. Pradeep Vyas said that the state is conducting 3-lakh tests per million population and though the death rate is low, the infections are very high.
He requested the industries to start setting up small oxygen plants in their premises to absorb natural oxygen based on new technologies and provide the entire production (oxygen) for medical purposes.
The meeting with Thackeray was attended by leading India Inc. players like Niranjan Hiranandani, Uday Kotak, Deepak Mukhi, Harsh Goenka, Naushad Forbes, Sulajja Firodia, Sameer Somaiya, S. N. Subramanian, Salil Parekh, Neel Raheja, Sanjeev Bajaj, Anant Goenka, Baba Kalyani, Anant Singhania, B. Thagarajan, Banamali Agarwal, Ashwin Yardi, Sunil Mathur, Sanjeev Singh, Ashish Agarwal, representatives of FICCI, CII and others industry bodies.
Representing top corporate houses or groups like Tata, Reliance, L&T, Infosys, JSW, Mahindra & Mahindra, Godrej, Blue Star, Kinetic Engineering and many more, the representatives unanimously assured that they were with the state government in this critical hour while interacting with the CM, Industry Minister Subhash Desai, Health Minister Rajesh Tope and top officials.
Responding favourably to Thackeray’s suggestion, the corporate honchos committed to make available oxygen, provide testing and vaccination centres, isolation areas, creating special systems for the health of all their workers and employees, developing systems to encourage Work From Home and other Covid-appropriate measures.
Thackeray called upon the corporate world to ensure that in view of the ‘Covid waves’, all steps must be taken to prevent their adverse impact on the industry and the economy due to unavoidable pandemic lockdowns or stringent norms.
The CM directed Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte to set up an ‘Industry Task Force’ which would work in tandem in future with the state government on all aspects of Covid type of health emergencies.
Thackeray asked the industrialists to take up welfare activities like Shiv Bhojan Thali for the poor in cities or local villages through the CSR route to minimise the impact of the Covid waves on the most vulnerable sections of society.