Mumbai | Jagran News Desk: A complete lockdown could be imposed in Maharashtra as the state continues to grapple under an unprecedented wave of coronavirus. State Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that all Cabinet ministers have requested Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to impose a lockdown and a decision on this will be taken after 8 pm on Wednesday.

"We have requested the CM to announce a complete lockdown in the state from tomorrow at 8 pm. This was the request of all ministers to CM, now it is his decision," Tope was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Public Works Minister Eknath Shinde and Health Minister Rajesh Tope also informed that the cabinet decided to cancel std 10th exam of the state board.

Maharashtra has been reporting over 50,000 coronavirus cases every day in the last two weeks but people are flouting the existing restrictions on movement and gatherings, the ministers said after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

"All the cabinet ministers expressed views in favour of a strict lockdown to minimise the spread of COVID-19. Ministers come from all corners of the state, so it also indicates that the entire state needs this measure," Tope said.

"Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray could make an official announcement about more stringent measures tomorrow," Tope added.

On oxygen availability, the health minister said the state was "managing with 1,550 metric tonnes of oxygen" per day at present.

"The state has been allowed to get 300 MT of oxygen from other states. The Centre can allot us another 300 MT, but we can not get more than 2,000 MT, overall," he said.

"Using oxygen generators is the only option we have. A couple of tenders have been floated already for the purchase of oxygen generators. We have asked district collectors to consider those rates as base point and issue purchase orders," Tope added.

"Every district should have such plants. The cabinet has approved it," he said.

There are six thermal power plants in the state which also generate oxygen but it needs to be liquefied for transportation and supply to hospitals, Tope said.

These plants will now have a dedicated bottling plant and the oxygen will be supplied to nearby hospitals, he said.

The cabinet also decided to purchase a minimum of 200 oxygen concentrator machines for each of 36 districts, he informed.

PWD minister Shinde said oxygen-carrying tankers will be given the status of ambulance to facilitate their smooth and speedy movement.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta