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Saturday, May 15, 2021

No consensus on lockdown, doctors to have last word

While a few politicians maintained the decision on lockdown should be left to senior doctors and medical fraternity, some others continued to cite prime minister Narendra Modi’s statement that lockdown should be the last resort.

Written by Saurabh Prashar | Chandigarh |
April 28, 2021 11:05:00 am
VP Singh Badnore, ChandigarhGovernor of Punjab and Chandigarh Administrator VP Singh Badnore along with all party delegation during a meeting at UT Guest house in Chandigarh on Tuesday. Express Photo

To impose lockdown or not. That was the question uppermost on everyone’s mind at the all-party meet called by Chandigarh administrator and Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore at the UT guesthouse on Tuesday. As expected, the various party leaders agreed to disagree.

Sources said while a few politicians maintained the decision on lockdown should be left to senior doctors and medical fraternity, some others continued to cite prime minister Narendra Modi’s statement that lockdown should be the last resort.

Congress leaders claimed that there was a difference of opinion even among BJP leaders on how to tackle the Covid-19 crisis in the city. Chandigarh Congress party president Subhash Chawla said while Mayor Ravikant Sharma spoke about the need for a lockdown to keep the numbers from surging any further, city BJP president Arun Sood said lockdown or curfew should be the last resort of the administration, and cited the speech of the Prime Minister to drive his point home. It is another matter that some BJP leaders who were not present in the meeting pointed out that there was a lockdown in over 30 cities of the PM’s home state of Gujarat.

“The PM has left it to the discretion of the city administrators,” said a BJP member who requested anonymity.

State general secretaries of the party Chandrashekhar and Rambir Bhatti assured administrator Badnore that if the administration needs volunteers for any kind of work, all the party workers will be happy to pitch in.

“Our party workers are ready to support the administration in every possible way, we only need a signal,” they said.

Davinder Babla, a Congress councillor, however, said the administration itself seems confused as it imposed a lockdown for one weekend, only to revoke it the very next week. He also rued that the authorities were doing little to enforce Covid protocol among people. “No strict enforcement/action is being taken against those not wearing masks and flouting Covid guidelines.”

He reminded the gathering that it was earlier decided by Punjab and Haryana that the two states and UT will join hands in the war on Covid. “Sadly, both the states have taken their own individual stands. The administration should coordinate with the two to ensure implementation of Covid guidelines in the tricity.”

Senior officers, including Adviser Manoj Parida, MC Commissioner KK Yadav, and others were also presented at the meeting. A senior officer said, “In the end, all party representatives agreed that restrictions should be imposed as per the suggestions of experienced medical fraternity, which was actually fighting the pandemic.”

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