April 17, 2021 12:55:44 am
HARYANA CHIEF Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Friday said there are no plans to impose lockdown in the state as it has adequate health infrastructure to tackle the ongoing Covid upsurge. At the same time, he announced that certain new curbs have been introduced so that economic activities can carry on but the safety of people is also not compromised.
He also reiterated his appeal to the farmers protesting at Delhi’s borders to return home and come back to the protest sites once the situation normalises.
In his approximately 30-minute address to the state via ‘Haryana ki Baat’, Khattar announced several measures that the state government is taking to curtail the transmission of Covid-19, which is spreading at an unprecedented pace across the state.
Restaurants, malls, religious places
A fresh set of curbs were also imposed Thusday by the state’s revenue and disaster management department. Additional Chief Secretary Sanjiv Kaushal issued a nine-page detailed set of curbs on social gatherings, permissible number of people in shopping malls, restaurants, clubs, bars, hotels, religious places and various other places where crowds are formed.
Though Haryana has decided not to impose weekend curfews, deputy commissioners have been given the authority to impose Section 144 of CrPC in their respective jurisdictions, depending upon the situation in their respective districts.
Monitoring Covid preparedness
Haryana also deputed 12 senior IAS officers in the districts of Faridabad, Panchkula, Karnal, Gurgaon, Sonipat, Ambala, Jhajjar, Hisar, Sirsa, Kurukshetra, Panipat and Rohtak to review/monitor Covid-19 preparedness.
The officers have been asked to review availability of treatment-related infrastructure, overseeing district administration’s efforts to promote testing and vaccination and enforcing Covid-appropriate behaviour among people.
Closure of schools
The government also ordered closure of all schools and other educational institutions till April 30.
“Farmers are protesting at several places. It is their democratic right. But when people are gathering, it always results in fear of coronavirus. At several places in schools, colleges – teachers, students have tested positive. Even today, 17-18 persons at a bus station tested positive. There is always a possibility that people will get Covid-19, if they stay together day and night. There can always be a disagreement, for which the farmers are protesting. But there is no disagreement on the issue of coronavirus. Jaan hai to jahaan hai. I appeal to farmers, this is not the time to lodge protests. Your protest is getting registered. When there is no Covid, nobody has any objection for you to come back again in the same manner, same place and do your protest. We should not become a cause of problem for others. Everybody should return to their homes, get themselves tested for Covid-19 and if they test positive, get themselves treated,” the CM said.
The state’s health-cum-home minister Anil Vij too reiterated that “no lockdown shall be imposed in Haryana”. He also refuted certain reports that about the state government’s plan to launch ‘Operation Clean’ to forcibly evict farmers from protest sites.
“No such action plan has been formulated by the state government. Chief minister has only issued another appeal to the farmers to end their protest and go back to their native places, because coronavirus is spreading faster in this ongoing wave. They can return to the protest sites, after the situation gets better,” Vij said.
Khattar also spoke about the ongoing crop procurement. “Procurement took place (last year too) amid Covid. We are again taking due precautions in all the anaj mandis. Till date, we have procured 50 lakh MT crop. Lifting is also being done at a satisfactory level. Deputy commissioners have been issued instructions. Due to rains, there is a possibility that the crop may get damaged. The loss can be of farmer, government, FCI or anybody. To avoid any crop loss, I have asked all deputy commissioners and transporters to expedite lifting of crop. I would like to appeal farmers to slow down pace of reaching mandis for a couple of days, so that the rains get over, especially in those mandis where there is already a glut of crops. As far as farmers’ payment is concerned, till date Rs 650 crore has been paid to the farmers. Farmers will continue to get their payment within 72 hours. We need everybody’s cooperation – farmers and arhtiyas,” said Khattar.
Khattar urged migrant labourers not to panic and assured that the state government would support them fully, be it ration supplies, medicine or their food requirements etc.
He said: “We need not spread panic. I request all our labourers, workers brothers that they should stay here and continue the work they are doing. They will have to follow same Covid safety protocols whether they stay here or go back to their native places. They should maintain distance, do segregated shifts. Haryana government stands committed for their welfare. Nobody shall face any difficulty, be it medicines, ration, food anything. Our district level task forces are functional and are constantly monitoring the situation. We are also holding a Cabinet meeting on April 22 and shall take the decisions that are required to be taken. We all are collectively going to defeat the coronavirus.”
Rise in infections
Expressing concerns over the rising case across the state, Khattar said, “Cases are rising at a great pace, which is a cause of concern. Yesterday’s (Thursday evening) count was 5,858 new cases. Our neighbouring states including UP, Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi etc. all are reporting large number of cases. This time, districts bordering Delhi including Gurgaon and Faridabad are also reporting high number of cases. Our recovery rate had dipped from 98 per cent to 90 per cent. Today, we have issued an advisory to curtail Covid-19 transmission rate. Last time, there was a panic among people, but this time people are aware. Due to lockdown imposed last time, economic activities got adversely affected. Workers migrated out of the state. But they eventually returned. This time, we are aware that Covid patients get treated within 14-20 days”.
“We have adequate stocks of PPE kits, ICU beds, ventilators and medicines etc. Our paramedical staff, doctors are also fully equipped to deal with this ongoing wave of Covid-19. We are also conducting more than 30,000 tests daily. We are focusing on testing, tracking, tracing and treatment. Approximately 20-30 contacts are being tracked per Covid patient. We are not leaving any stones unturned to curtail transmission rate. The more we test, the more Covid patients will be found. But, we are not worried about that. Our priority is to treat all such patients. The ongoing wave also reveal that people who are not having severe affects after testing positive, they should stay at home, isolate themselves. Our health department teams are going to their homes and monitoring their recovery process,” the CM said.
Helpline services for those in home isolation
Khattar also announced that the state helpline services were also taking care of patients who are under home isolation.
“Telemedicine services are also going on and each patient is contacted twice a day. As far as infrastructure in hospitals is concerned, beds, medicines, Remedisivir injections — we have adequate stocks available in Haryana. We have also issued helpline numbers for three districts — Panchkula, Gurgaon and Faridabad — 8558893911. For remaining districts, 1075 can be dialed to seek help,” he said.
Mandis, procurement centres to stay closed on April 17-18
A state government spokesperson said, “Farmers are requested not to bring their produce to the mandis on both these days as wheat will not be procured in the state on April 17 and 18 and only work of lifting wheat procured in the past will be done in the mandis. Monday (April 19) onwards, wheat procurement will continue smoothly in the state as before.”
The spokesperson added, “A total of 49.86 lakh tonnes of wheat has arrived in the mandis and procurement centres of Haryana from April 1 to April 16, out of which 41.35 lakh tonnes of wheat has been procured by government agencies at the Minimum Support Price (MSP). On April 16, procurement of 1.99 lakh tonnes of wheat was made by government agencies at MSP. So far 4,33,262 J-forms of 1,60,270 farmers have been created and till today Rs 873.27 crore has been paid directly to the farmers’ accounts. Directions have been given to all concerned that lifting of wheat purchased in mandis should be ensured on a daily basis so that wheat does not get stored in mandis and farmers have no difficulty in selling their produce. Apart from this, the state government has appointed senior officers for the inspection of mandis, so that there are no obstacles in the procurement work.”
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