Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Friday said there would be no curfew in the state this coming Sunday to ensure that students appearing for JEE-NEET exams do not face any problem. Non-essential shops will however remain closed.
The state has imposed Sunday curfew in all cities. This will not be implemented on September 13 to ensure free movement of the students, the CM said while addressing the people of the state through his #AskCaptain initiative on Facebook.
Oximeter @Rs 514
Amid reports of overcharging of oximeters, Amarinder announced that the government will provide oximeters at an affordable cost of Rs 514 through health-department approved vendors in every district.
He said the Department of Health will issue detailed guidelines in this regard within one week.
The department was purchasing these oximeters for Rs 514 each for the health staff and these would now be made available through authorised vendors to the general public too on no-profit-no-loss basis, he added.
Besides, the government will be providing free oximeters to those testing positive for Covid-19 as a part of free Covid care kit.
Responding to a question, Amarinder said that for Covid patients in home isolation, a home isolation monitoring team visits the home of positive patients three times in 10 days to inquire about their health and also give necessary inputs to the care giver of the patient. They check for the availability of thermometer, pulse oximeter, vitamin C and zinc tablets as advised. The team also make calls to the healthcare giver.
Reacting to a social media campaign on the alleged scholarship scam in the state involving Social Welfare Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Amarinder called it an outcome of differences between the minister and his department secretary. “When a minister and his secretary have differences, the case goes to the CM. It came to me and I sent it to the Chief Secretary. The CS will get an inquiry done, we will get the report. If embezzlement has taken place I will not spare anyone who is responsible for this.”
High death rate
Amarinder attributed the high Covid death rate to late reporting at hospitals for treatment. He called upon the people to help him and his government in reversing the trend by not ignoring symptoms, and getting themselves tested and hospitalised in time as most of the deaths were being reported at Level 3.
He said the conditions in hospitals had improved and a lot of money had been spent by his government to scale up the facilities and he had also asked the ministers to visit the districts under their charge to take stock of the ground situation.
Think before you post on social media
Amarinder urged youngsters to think 10 times before posting or forwarding anything on social media as any irresponsible action could impact their future.
“What you post on social media is your responsibility…You can’t mislead people,” he said. Pointing out that once a case is registered their entire future could be adversely affected, he urged youth to act responsibly. Amarinder pointed out that so far, 121 social media accounts/links had been blocked while 292 more had been identified by the Punjab Police for indulging in false propaganda on organ harvesting and testing for Covid.
“We will not let anyone disturb Punjab’s peaceful atmosphere with such vicious propaganda,” he added.
Appeals to media to respect privacy
Responding to the concern expressed by an Amritsar resident about the media continuing to name Covid patients despite the government decision on not identifying them, the chief minister said strict instructions were in place to maintain the confidentiality of the Identity of Covid patients and the implementation of these will be ensured. He also appealed to the people to refrain from discriminating against any patient of Covid.
On a Khadoor Sahib resident’s suggestion that the Punjab government should offer financial incentive for plasma donation on the lines of a similar programme in Andhra Pradesh where every donor was paid Rs 5,000, Amarinder said, “We are Punjabis and are open-hearted. Why would a Punjabi take money for donating plasma and blood, it’s not in our culture and ethos.”
On a plea by NHM workers working on a meagre salary for the past 10 years despite now being on the forefront of the Covid fight, the chief minister said the state government has already established a Cabinet sub-committee to look into to the regularisation of contractual staff working in the state. A Faridkot resident was also given a similar assurance, with Amarinder saying that his government was committed to taking care of the health workers, especially those on Covid duty.
Referring to several complaints on inflated power bills, the chief minister said no meter reading was taking place due to the pandemic but he had now ordered meter reading to start so that people could get bills on actual consumption. If higher amounts have already been paid, the same will be adjusted, he said.
No political functions
The chief minister, in response to a question on whether masks could be removed during any functions/gathering etc while speaking through the mic, said it was advisable not to attend any social gatherings at all. However, if necessary to do so, all protocols should be adhered to at all times, he said.
Amarinder listed out various steps being taken by his government to improve the cleanliness of Abohar, which has been recently ranked the third dirtiest city in the country. Abohar is the constituency of PPCC chief Sunil Kumar Jakhar, who had lost Assembly elections from there last time.
As part of the all-round efforts to improve the conditions, 10 new community toilet blocks are being constructed, along with 7 new Solid Waste Management sites, called Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs).
The chief minister said a Project for Sanitation and Cleanliness, called ‘Chokho Abohar’, has been approved by the state government. Funds have been sent, and tenders have been invited, he added.
On a complaint of heavy water-logging in canals of 20 villages of Muktsar Sahib, which had caused major wheat crop losses last year, the CM said during monsoon, rain water from adjoining high areas was accumulating in these low-lying pockets, thus harming standing crops. To give relief to these low lying pockets, the sub surface drainage schemes/shallow tube wells/lift schemes have been installed to lower the sub-soil water level responsible for the waterlogging problem.
In the current season, Muktsar district has received heavy rain (in some areas 150 mm/day) which has aggravated the problem of water logging. Water has been drained from village abadies and efforts are being made to drain out the accumulated water from low lying pockets by making additional pumping arrangement, said Amarinder.
Jackpot for Golgappa boy
Amarinder announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh for a young boy from Amritsar whose viral video of selling Golgappas on the roadside to earn his livelihood had touched the hearts of thousands of people.
The youngster was seen refusing the offer of money from an individual, and said he wanted only his hard-earned money.
He said he will ask Amritsar DC to invest the grant in a Fixed Deposit and the interest on it will be used for the boy’s education. “I am impressed by the grit of this young boy,” he added.
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