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Shameful that Akalis indulging in petty politics when people are dying: Capt Amarinder on COVID Relief Fund

Chandigarh, July 25, 2020 (Yes Punjab News)

Reacting strongly to the Akali attack on his government on the CM Covid Relief Fund, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday expressed shock at the petty politics being indulged by the Akalis in the state at a time when people were dying.

“Never in my political life have I seen such petty politics,” said the Chief Minister, terming the SAD remarks as `shameful.’ “It is a question of life and death, and the future of Punjab,” said Captain Amarinder, stressing that there should be no politics on such a grave issue at a critical time like the present.

In his weekly #AskCaptain live interaction on Facebook, Captain Amarinder said the Rs 64 crore lying in the CM Relief Fund were meant for Covid relief and will be spent on it. Pointing out that the disease had still not peaked, the Chief Minister said his government had already spent over Rs 300 crore on Covid care, treatment and other related expenses, and expected to spend another Rs 200 crore at the minum. The Rs 64 crore will be spent for Covid care, he asserted.

Even as he directed DGP Dinkar Gupta to strictly enforce wearing of mask and other restrictions such as social distancing at religious places, the Chief Minister reiterated his appeal to the Management of religious institutions to ensure that all precautions are taken to avoid overcrowding.

He said in response to a question in this regard by a Gurdaspur resident that social distancing and masks were necessary even at religious places and people should tell others to follow the norms if they come across any violation.

The Chief Minister said his government had been forced to impose additional fines due to frequent violations and, if necessary, would increase the penalties even on wearing of masks and spitting of fines etc if the norms are not strictly adhered to.

Citing numbers, the Chief Minister said Punjab was currently at the 18th position in terms of Covid cases in the country but with an average of 400-odd cases per day for the last two days, the situation was a cause for concern. The aim should be to minimize the spread to the extent possible, he said, adding that the recovery of more than 9000 people was an encouraging sign but more needed to be done to win the war against Covid.

Captain Amarinder appealed to recovered Covid patients to come forward to donate plasma, for which two more banks would soon be opened, in Amritsar and Faridkot.

Even in Patiala, where the state’s first plasma bank is functional, only 7 of the 17 donors who came forward were found eligible to donate plasma, he said, pointing out that the drawable rate was only 40% with others not having enough anti-bodies to be able to give their plasma. The plasma is taken only after tests and verification, he assured a citizen who wanted to understand the procedure for donating his plasma.

Expressing concern over the increasing number of Covid cases among frontline workers, the Chief Minister pointed out that around 250 police personnel in Punjab had been infected so far. Testing of the frontline workers was of paramount importance and the state government was focusing on that, he added.

To a question on why doctors in Punjab were testing everyone for Covid even before a small surgery, he said this was essential for safeguarding doctors, nurses and other patients.

Explaining the concept of containment zones and buffer zones, the Chief Minister said his government had opted for micro containment strategy to ensure that economic activity does not come to a standstill.

The Prime Minister had also appreciate the micro containment strategy and asked other states to emulate it, he said. As per this strategy, only small areas are contained, which helps reduce local transmission, even though the huge inter-state movement was causing the disease to spread, said Captain Amarinder.

Regarding a question on objectionable pictures at Jallianwala Bagh, the Chief Minister said the historic place was under the control of ASI and the Government of India. The state government had brought the issue to the Centre’s notice and the pictures in question were being removed, he added.

Asked why local bodies elections were being held in October, considering the Covid pandemic was unlikely to end by then, Captain Amarinder said holding elections was a constitutional requirement.

While no date had been finalized, his government had asked the state election commission to decide on the date, possibly in the second week of October, before the onset of the festival and the paddy procurement seasons.

The Chief Minister promised to waive off the penalty imposed on farmers for not giving their produce to the government sugar mill in Gurdaspur during the lockdown period, when the mill was closed.

To a request for resuming the Rozgar Melas, the Chief Minister said this could not be done at present due to the Covid restrictions but his government will try to facilitate online recruitment of unemployed youth

The family of Rajbir Singh, who had won 2 gold medals in cycling during the Special Olympics held in USA in 2015, said he had not got his due from the government which was promised to him.

The sportsman was being taken care of by an NGO and his situation had deteriorated after his surgery, which was done in CMC, and was under depression. The Chief Minister said unfortunately the state had no policy yet for special sportspersons but he would direct the Department to formulate one to help out Rajbir and others like him.

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