Bengaluru: Amid talks about extending the lockdown in Karnataka as the state battles the second wave of COVID-19, JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy on Monday told the government that it should be ”pro bono,” where economic and food relief to the needy is taken care of.
Noting that lockdown is a step towards saving lives, but livelihood should also be taken care of, Kumaraswamy in a series of tweets, accused the Centre of leaving the responsibility of announcing the lockdown on the state and washing its hands off, as it would have to provide relief to the people if such announcements are made.
”There are reports that the state government is mulling extending the lockdown. If at all it is extended it should be pro bono. The extended lockdown should take care of providing economic and food relief. At the all-party meeting too what we had suggested was a lockdown with an intention of public good,” the former Chief Minister tweeted.
Stating that the government should review how lockdown is being implemented in neighboring states and how the people are getting assistance, he said, ”the intention of the lockdown should not only be restricting people from coming out of their houses, but should be aimed at containing the virus with public cooperation.” Though the state is currently under complete lockdown till May 24, there have been voices, including by several senior Ministers in favour of extending it, aimed at controlling the spread of the virus.
Accusing the Centre of putting the responsibility of lockdown on states, not wanting to take the onus of providing relief, Kumaraswamy said, the state government should not neglect the people as the Centre did and should focus on addressing their needs and provide relief during the lockdown.
”It is true that lockdown is a step towards saving the lives of people, but we are also aware of its ill-effects on the livelihood of the people. So the state government should give priority towards the pro bono lockdown that we are suggesting,” he said, adding that it is the duty of a pro- people government to support livelihood while saving lives.
During the all-party meeting held on April 20 too, Kumaraswamy had advocated for imposition of lockdown to control the spike in COVID cases, and had said that the government should announce financial assistance and provide relief for the needy.
According to sources, there is discussion within the government to extend lockdown to control the spike in cases, as it seems to be yielding results.
Karnataka on Sunday had reported 31,531 new cases of COVID-19, and 403 fatalities, taking the total number of infections to 22,03,462 and the death toll to 21,837.
Total number of active cases in the state stood at 6,00,147.
The Congress’ Karnataka unit too has urged the state government to announce a financial package and come to the rescue of those whose livelihood has been affected by the COVID-19 induced lockdown.