New Delhi: Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) president Uday Shankar has urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to avoid another lockdown in Odisha.
Resorting to such a drastic measure at this stage may not be conducive and will push the economy into a downward spiral, Shankar wrote in a letter to Naveen, and went on to suggest measures to check the spread of COVID-19 cases.
“As the apex chamber of commerce and industry in the country, FICCI is deeply distressed and concerned about the recent surge in the COVID cases in India. This sudden increase in the infection has the potential to put lives and livelihoods in jeopardy. We have witnessed that the lockdown last year, though unavoidable at that time, exacted a huge cost on Indian economy and livelihoods of the people. As the economy has barely begun to turnaround from the impact of the lockdowns, FICCI strongly suggests that we should avoid introducing another lockdown or even a partial lockdown in the State! Resorting to such a drastic measure at this stage may not be conducive to the overall situation and will push the economy into downward spiral,” Shankar has written.
He has suggested the following measures to break the chain of COVID spread:
* Ramp up COVID testing: The private labs may be used to the fullest along with the government labs to ramp up the testing significantly.
* Awareness Drive and Enforcement of COVID Appropriate Behaviour: The population may be sensitised about the COVID appropriate behaviour like wearing masks, physical distancing, personal hygiene etc. Support may be taken by involving volunteers from the schools, colleges and the NGOs. Strict compliance to COVID protocol may be ensured with suitable penalties for violations.
* Vaccination: FICCI has represented to the Union Government to open up the vaccination for all the people above 18 years of age to give a massive push to the vaccination drive as there is no shortage of vaccines and the inoculation capacity can be increased with the participation of the private sector. The State Government will have to play a major role to encourage people to come forward for vaccination and build capacities with the help of private sector for the expected jump in the inoculation. Vaccination camps in the colonies and societies with the help of Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) will also help push the vaccination drive.