Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Tuesday instructed his Cabinet ministers not to tour their respective districts and stay at home.
A text message to all ministers sent by M P Singh, secretary-cum-OSD to the CM, said: “The Chief Minister has desired all ministers not to tour districts for three days as deputy commissioners and staff are busy. They may stay indoors and give messages on media for citizens to stay at home.”
The move comes a day after The Indian Express carried a report on several politicians in the state stepping out to distribute ration to the poor and sharing pictures of the same on social media amid the stringent curfew declared by the chief minister. Among them were state Revenue Minister Gurpreet Singh Kangar, Ferozepur MLA Parminder Singh Pinki, Forests Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot and Industries Minister Sunder Sham Arora.
On receiving the message, several ministers who were distributing ration in their respective areas, returned home.
Panchayats and Rural Development Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa said he had already finished his tour and was coming back to Chandigarh, “I had overseen all the work till yesterday. I am already on my way back to Chandigarh,” Bajwa said.
He added that he respected the chief minister’s orders and he would appeal to all people to stay indoors to strengthen this fight against the coronavirus.
Education Minister Vijay Inder Singla said he too returned home after getting the orders. “I was distributing ration in my constituency when I got the messages. I finished doing it soon after. My volunteers are now doing it in all the areas where the poor need ration. I will supervise it from home,” he said.
Jails Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said he was also coming back to Chandigarh. “We will stay indoors for three days and then wait for directions,” he said.
However, one minister said, “We need to be among our people. They need us during this trying time. If ministers are indoors, the entire government operation to help the poor is left to the bureaucrats.”
Others welcomed the move saying they were going out due to public pressure. “People used to come and tell me ‘tainu zyada huna Corona. Assi vi tan phirde aa saara din (will only you get corona? We are also going out) So many of us were unwillingly going out among people,” said a minister.
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