Describing as 'alarming' the rise in fresh COVID-19 cases in some districts of Maharashtra, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Monday warned of taking some 'harsh decisions' and asked people to be prepared.
Some districts in Vidarbha region in east Maharashtra, especially Amravati and Nagpur, and Nashik in north Maharashtra have seen the number of new cases rising over the last few days.
Speaking to reporters, Pawar expressed displeasure over people not following the pandemic-appropriate behaviour and violating guidelines.
Pawar, who also holds Finance ministry, was in Aurangabad to chair a review meeting of eight districts under the Marathwada region.
'I have come across ((reports that) people are not following the COVID-19 guidelines which are aimed at checking the spread of the infection. If the situation worsens, we may need to pay heavy cost for this carelessness. The number (of new cases in the state) is alarming. We have seen that lockdown was imposed in many parts of the world again in view of the second wave of the pandemic,' he said.
Pawar said the matter will be discussed with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai tonight.
'Harsh decisions can be taken and the people should remain prepared. If certain decisions are not taken in time then we will have to pay a heavy cost later,' he added.
Maharashtra on Sunday recorded 4,092 new coronavirus cases, taking the infection tally to 20,64,278, while 40 deaths pushed the toll to 51,529, as per the state government.
While 19,75,603 people have recovered so far in the state, there are 35,965 active cases as on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Pawar criticised the opposition parties which have demanded that no restrictions be imposed on celebrating the birth anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on February 19.
'The government has allowed gathering of 100 people for Shiv Jayanti celebrations, but the Opposition says that restrictions are being imposed by the state government. In the time of pandemic, it is important to save lives of the people.
Last year, people celebrated festivals at their homes,' he said.
The senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader also proposed that political parties frame certain guidelines on holding political events.
'People's gatherings are taking place. Many political parties too started organising programmes as the pandemic graph has gone down in Maharashtra. Key political parties should sit together and prepare guidelines. People will not accept that political programmes are being held without any restrictions but celebration of festivals is being restricted,' he said.
Pawar said bills to the tune of Rs 5,000 crore are pending with consumers of electricity pumps in Marathwada region.
'Farmers should pay the pending bills so that this fund can be utilised for improving infrastructure in every district. The funds allocated last year for district planning committees in the eight district of Marathwada was Rs 1,865 crore. We will raise it to Rs 2,100 crore this year,' Pawar added.
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