May 6, 2021 9:05:25 am
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday ruled out a complete lockdown in the state, noting that the restrictions currently in place were more stringent than lockdown conditions in many other states. The CM also announced a series of relaxations and relief measures to alleviate the woes of various sections of society amid the prolonged crisis.
Virtually chairing a cabinet meeting, the Chief Minister compared the Punjab restrictions with the curbs in place in states like Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala and pointed out that it was not necessary to impose a total lockdown.
Amid a spike in Covid-19 cases, the Chief Minister ordered limiting of the number of teachers in government schools to 50 per cent, with the rest taking online classes from home. He also directed the Food Department to prepare 5 lakh additional food packets for distribution among Covid-19 patients.
The state government has also announced an additional 10 kg atta for 1.41 crore Smart Ration Card beneficiaries. The food aid is in addition to the 1 lakh food kits containing 10 kg atta, 2 kg chana and 2 kg sugar already sanctioned for all poor people testing positive with Covid. It is also in addition to the food aid announced by the Centre.
Taking cognizance of the problems resulting from the restrictions, Amarinder asked the Social Welfare Department to immediately release social security / pension amounts to ensure that the people do not suffer further amid the current crisis.
The relaxations announced by Amarinder include the phased opening of shops and various incentives for the housing sector, including 3-month extension in permission period of construction of plots/projects.
Taking note of the resentment among shopkeepers over the selective closure of shops, Amarinder asked district administration officials to work out a phased shop reopening plan for their respective districts. Earlier, several cabinet ministers raised the issue of the resentment over selective closure of shops. Manpreet Badal, Tripat Bajwa and Bharat Bhushan Ashu said the shopkeeper were upset about the selective shop shutdown as part of the restrictions imposed in the state. The Chief Minister said the objective of the closure had been to prevent crowding.
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