Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday skipped PM Narendra Modi’s video-conference with Chief Ministers to attend the Congress Working Committee meeting chaired by party chief Sonia Gandhi through video-link.
Punjab was represented at the PM’s meeting by Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh and DGP Dinkar Gupta.
The Chief Secretary told PM Modi that the state’s health machinery was fully geared to battle COVID-19 in the coming weeks.
PM apprised about harvesting season
Apprising the PM about the harvesting season in the state, Karan Avtar Singh said that the operations had already started in some places with the farmers being given some relaxation. They have been asked to maintain physical distancing during harvesting and a proposal of staggered harvesting, on district-wise basis, was under active consideration, he said.
The PM was told that as many as 1,380 beds and 101 ventilators had been demarcated at Government Medical Hospitals at Faridkot, Amritsar and Patiala for COVID-19 patients, while 51 private labs had been engaged for coronavirus testing.
Capt tells Sonia: No migrant issue in Punjab
At the CWC meeting which was held around the same time, Punjab CM told Congress leaders said that issue of migrant labourers moving towards their native places during the lockdown had been contained due to timely intervention by state authorities. “We are making all arrangements for their food and shelter,” said Amarinder after Congress chief Sonia Gandhi raised the issue during the meeting.
In response to the concern expressed by the party president on the arrangements for harvesting the standing crop, the Chief Minister said all arrangements were being made to ensure smooth operations, with strict maintenance of social distance protocols in the state’s mandis. He said that the had urged the central government to incentivise farmers to go in for staggered transportation of the grain to the mandis and delayed procurement.
Amarinder told the meeting that the state government was also preparing to deal with the eventuality of the disease acquiring larger epidemic proportions by May or June.
Asked about the problems faced by the state, the Chief Minister told the CWC that it was not receiving its GST share from the Centre, which was causing serious financial problems.
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