While Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is firm on not pushing the State government’s Mission Begin Again, demands, ranging from concessions to single-screen theatre owners and opening gymnasiums to seeking relaxations from e-pass, are increasing every day.
A delegation of the Cinema Owners and Exhibitors’ Association of India on Tuesday held a meeting with Nationalist Congress Party MP Supriya Sule and submitted a list of demands, including concessions in electricity bills, exemption from property tax, and soft loans with minimum rates.
“The single-screen theatre owners are under financial problems due to the pandemic. I appeal to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to consider their demands and find a way out,” she said.
Last week, a delegation of gymnasium owners met Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray, who had raised the demand to restart the gyms in the State.
Following the Centre’s decision to allow vehicular movement without e-pass, the State government is under pressure to implement it in Maharashtra. Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, however, said that the State will not cancel the e-pass system immediately. “An appropriate decision will soon be taken,” he said. Various representative bodies such as school bus owner representatives are seeking tax exemptions or financial aid from the State government. The hotel industry has also sought reopening of restaurants on the lines of other States.
The Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is demanding opening up of temples. The party’s spiritual coordination front has announced to organise a ‘bell banging’ agitation on August 29.
Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis said that the State government is not taking decisions on any front. “This government is confused. There is no coordination and nobody knows what is happening. Therefore, there are no decisions, and confusion prevails all over,” he said.
While reviewing the COVID-19 situation in Thane district on Monday, Mr. Uddhav Thackeray said that he would not rush to take a decision on reopening. “It has been observed that many parts of the world witnessed a second wave of pandemic and therefore we have to go slowly,” he said.
An official from the Finance Department said, “The government, especially the Finance Department, is flooded with requests for financial assistance from all sectors. We are considering all the demands and a decision will be taken.”