Hyderabad: After 57 days of lockdown, Hyderabad is all set to finally open up from Tuesday, with the state government allowing all businesses outside Covid-19 containment zones to function. Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) on Monday said that all establishments can reopen from Tuesday and that other services like cabs and autos will also be allowed to ply. He also took a swipe at the Centre’s ₹20 lakh crore package to revive the economy, by calling it “gas".
The state government will also the run inter-district buses, but will not operate Telangana State Road transport Corporation (TSRTC) buses in Hyderabad and the metro rail as well. The ongoing daily curfew from 7 pm to 6 am will continue to be enforced until 31 May, KCR said at a press conference on Monday. “People have to wear masks compulsorily when they step outside, otherwise they will have to face fines of Rs.1,000," he mentioned.
The new relaxations will come as a boon for thousands of daily wagers, especially auto and taxi drivers, who have been left in the lurch with no income from nearly two months. KCR said that cabs can run with up to 3 passengers (plus driver), while autos can carry up to two passengers. All establishments outside containment zones can now run from Tuesday. However, places like bars, clubs, swimming pools, gyms, parks, etc will continue to remain shut.
Coming down heavily on the Centre’s financial package, KCR stated that it had nothing for states. “Is this a package? This is gas. People will know it is bogus. As a state government, I feel very painful and sorry," he added. Rubbishing the conditional increase in the FRBM limits from 3% to 5%, KCR pointed out that the state already had the facility of borrowings to the extent of 3.5% of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP)
“It’s pathetic that the Centre should insist on states implementing the reforms in four sectors to qualify for increased borrowing at such times. Are they giving some charity? Should states have to go with a begging bowl for assistance to the Centre in such critical times?" he asked rhetorically during the press conference. Prior to Monday’s relaxations, the state government had allowed green zones, or particularly rural areas and other municipalities in Telangana to open up, while the lockdown in Hyderabad had continued.
On Monday, 41 new covid-19 cases were also reported from the state, of which 26 were from the Greater Hyderabad area alone, while three were detected in Medhal district and the remaining 12 among migrants. With that, the total covid-19 cases in Telangana now stands at 1,592, of which 556 cases are currently active, while a total of 1,002 have been discharged post recovery from hospitals.