Maharashtra’s Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday expressed caution over Centre’s proposal to open up the domestic aviation sector from Monday, saying during a video address that the western state needed more time to prepare for resuming domestic flight services. “The deadline can’t be lifted even by May 31, the day when the current round of lockdown ends,” said Thackeray.
Highlighting that he had had a conversation with Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Thackeray said that though he understood the importance of resuming domestic flights, Maharashtra needed more time (to allow domestic flights operations).
Thackeray said that significant movement of people could be expected once the flight operations begin and the picture would be clearer only by May 31. “We can’t say that lockdown will be over by May 31,” he said, adding that the authorities needed to be more careful during the monsoon season.
Around a third of the coronavirus infections in India have surfaced from Maharashtra, which has reported 47,190 of the overall 1.31 lakh infections in the country.
The remarks by Thackeray came amid an ongoing debate between Centre and several states, including Maharashtra and West Bengal, over the resumption of domestic flights. Homes to country’s two major airports, both Maharashtra and West Bengal administrations have objected to the prospect of re-starting domestic flight operations as yet.
While the state governments are constitutionally obliged to toe the line of Centre when it comes to resuming flights, they do have the power to keep the incoming passengers from exiting the airport premises.