Give states liberty to take a call on relaxations, says Ashok Gehlot

What is the way ahead after May 3?

See, imposing a lockdown is easy but removing it is very difficult. We have to open up the lockdown now in phases as our activity is down to zero. Our state revenue is down to just 10%. How will we run the government like this? A modified lockdown is in operation after April 20 in which industries and shops have opened in some areas. We have to open it phase-wise now. Like in Jaipur, the Ramganj area is in the ‘red zone’ but elsewhere in Jaipur district, the industry can open. We have opened 288 industrial areas and over 7,000 units.

The Centre has said it is bringing in new guidelines…

States should be given the liberty to decide on the relaxations as per their own assessment. Leaving out the hotspots, relaxations should be given from May 4. I would ask the Centre to frame the broad guidelines only as they have a country-wide experience but states should be given more liberty. We will follow the Centre’s guidelines. But the Centre should consider that all states are not on the same footing and need their own plans. Every state is at a different stage — some have more cases, some have fewer cases, some are testing high, some are testing less, and separate regions are impacted.

How do you plan to bring migrants home after the Centre’s orders?

My demand is that this job is not possible unless special trains are run. Buses will not be able to complete the task given the volumes. Rajasthan has maximum migrants in other states. As per data with us after registrations, over 4.67 lakh locals of Rajasthan want to return home from other states, including 1.75 lakh from different cities of Maharashtra and about a lakh from Gujarat. Also, over 1.33 lakh migrants of other states want to return home from Rajasthan. Without special trains, how will you do it? Run point-to-point trains, like from Nagpur to Jaipur. Till now, the policy on migrant labour was all up in the air — I had to point this out to the PM and now the order came.

Rajasthan’s performance was praised by the Centre…

Testing has to be increased, as Rahul Gandhi said. Rajasthan has done over 1 lakh tests so far. Our testing capacity is almost 8,000 tests per day. Cases are coming but only a few cases are in ICU and maximum people get cured in the wards itself. Our recovery rate is 33%. Our state’s case doubling is over 11 days. We have used Ayushman Bharat data to identity people above 60 in the hotspots and given priority to them in testing. So that even if they turn positive, they get treated soon and do not die. All experts told us that aged people, who are already suffering from kidney, heart or diabetes like diseases, have a high fatality rate to Covid-19.

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