April 8, 2020
Dear Hon. Chief Minister
It is clear from whatever information is coming out in the public domain that the situation “medically” is NOT right nor ripe for allowing the Government to lift the Lockdown on April 14th.
Discussions are now veering around to whether we should lift it for a few days or lift it partially in areas that are “NOT HOT SPOTS” so that some economic activity can begin.
However, who is to guarantee and enforce that if such partial lifting is done on a “geographical segregation basis”, people will not move between different geographies and spread the virus? Further, who is to guarantee that the“so-called unaffected areas”, do not have cases of dormant virus which may come to life once we open up and lead to a massive Stage 3 community spread?
Under the circumstances, the best way to strengthen the Government’s hands in taking a decision is for ALL Chief Ministers to make a uniform plea to the Central Government that the countrywide Lock-down should be extended for a further 4 weeks till Mid-May”. Such a recommendation will give the Central government enough flexibility, strength and confidence to go back to the people with a decision for extension.
Of course, there is nothing sacrosanct about this 4 weeks. But giving this long extension means
a) People will mentally get prepared for the long haul
b) If things actually start looking significantly better after 2 weeks, Government can always modify their order and reduce the lock down period extension to only 3 weeks or even earlier.
On the other hand, extending the Lock-down now by another 2 weeks and then going back to the people again asking for a further 2-week extension will be very difficult to propose and even more difficult to enforce.
All of us citizens must remember the horrible tragedy we had during the Kandahar Hijacking incident when the resentment and crying and wailing of the affected families forced the government’s hands and we had to make one of the most tragic concessions to terrorists at that time.
The Corona Virus is no less than a terrorist and we need to stand together, firm in our resolve that we are ready to accept a long period of hardship, discomfort and monetary loss but we will NOT ALLOW CORONA VIRUS TO SPREAD!
We citizens, business community, in particular and State Governments must not try to pressurize the Central Government for a premature lifting of the LockDown, for economic reasons, which can have tragic consequences for us.
I, therefore, urge all Chief Ministers to give a unanimous recommendation and unconditional support to a 4-week extension (as some Chief Ministers have already done) so that the country emerges stronger, safer and more united from this horrific episode which has challenged our very existence.
Hemendra k. Varma
A Concerned Citizen