Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Saturday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the ongoing lockdown, that has been imposed to contain covid-19 pandemic, should only continue in the ‘red zone’ clusters that have been identified in the state.

On Saturday, 24 more people were found infected with the virus in AP, taking the total cases in the state to 405.

Jagan Mohan Reddy’s opinion on the extension of the lockdown was made during a video conference with Modi. Maintaining that he would pay heed to the centre’s advice on the issue, the chief minister, however, put forth his opinion keeping in mind the economic impact of the lockdown on AP. He stated that AP does not have sufficient space to store agricultural storage and pointed out that shipment of agricultural produce has also now stopped.

Stating that “any decision by the centre would be fully endorsed”, Jagan Mohan Reddy at the same time also said that the wheel of the economy should keep moving irrespective of its pace. He told Modi that out of the 676 mandals (across 13 districts) in AP, 27 mandals have been declared as red zones and 44 as orange zones. “Effective steps are being taken under the Centre’s guidelines to contain the spread of COVID-19. The State has identified 141 containment clusters,” a press release from his office quoted him.

Apart from implementing the lockdown in red zones, the AP chief minister said that he also wanted to provide a helping hand to farmers who have to sell their rabi crop in the coming days. “Agricultural and allied fields like aqua culture and horticulture are being badly affected with farmers unable to sell the rabi crop as transport has come to a halt. Godowns are full and storage is a problem,” added the release.

Jagan Mohan Reddy, apart from preferring the partial lockdown in only ‘red zones’, opined that placed like schools, malls, cinemas and religious places can continue to remain closed.

Telangana CM K. Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR) also urged Modi once again, to continue with the ongoing nationwide lockdown. KCR, who also had a video conference with Modi on Saturday, said that the food processing industry should function so that essential commodities are available.

Stating that agriculture is the lifeblood of the country, KCR opined that rice mills, and other agro-based industries should function, and added that the agricultural sector should be included in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee act. “The Centre should take initiative to postpone for six months, the monthly interest paid by the States on debts from the Centre,” KCR told Modi, among other things, said a press release form his office.

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