Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Monday said the nationwide lockdown has dealt a blow to tourism in the state, but expressed hope that things will get back on track under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership.
“Uttarakhand has been a centre of tourism, especially religious tourism, which has suffered due to the lockdown, but we are confident that under the leadership of the prime minister, the situation will improve again,” Rawat said after participating in the prime minister’s video-conference with chief ministers.
He said the bold and timely decision taken by Modi to impose the lockdown in order to curb the spread of coronavirus has made the country feel safe today and every Indian “looks up to the prime minister as a guardian”.
On the coronavirus situation in the state, the chief minister said adopting the prime minister’s mantra of “jaan bhi, jahan bhi”, the state government is pursuing a policy of gradual exit from the ongoing lockdown with resumption of selected economic activity, while strictly following the Centre’s guidelines in view of the prevailing health emergency.
“We are working on gradually improving the economy. Pharmaceutical and food-processing industries, besides many others, have resumed operations without compromising on the guidelines issued by the Centre,” he said.
Citing an example, Rawat said the portals of Gangotri and Yamunotri were opened on the occasion of Akshay Tritiya on Sunday while strictly following the social-distancing norms.
Work on some national highway projects and those under MGNREGA have been resumed in nine districts where there are no coronavirus cases, while maintaining the medical-safety norms, he added.
A cabinet sub-committee has also been set up to suggest ways for economic revival, which will submit its report soon, the chief minister said.
He also suggested that the duration of work under MGNREGA should be extended from 100 to 150 days.
Rawat underlined the need to explore which economic activities can be resumed while fulfilling the health parameters laid down by the Centre to revive the state’s economy.
“We should see how self-employment opportunities can be generated by resuming activities in the agriculture and forestry sectors, without compromising on the necessity of wearing masks and maintaining social distancing,” he said.
These things may lead to a gradual improvement in the situation, Rawat added.