May 24, 2021 12:52:46 am
Categorically rejecting the allegation that the state government had failed to effectively tackle the Covid pandemic, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday urged the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) not to go ahead with their proposed dharna, which he said could turn into a super-spreader event of the contagion.
The CM said his government had fought hard to prevent Punjab from going the way other states had gone, such as Delhi, Maharashtra and even Uttar Pradesh (where bodies floating in the Ganga river had exposed the total pandemic mismanagement by the BJP-ruled state). Any event, such as the proposed 3-day dharna in Patiala, had the potential to negate the gains made by the government in tackling Covid in the state, he said.
In a statement , Amarinder urged the farmers’ group not to act irresponsibly and jeopardise the lives of their own people with such reckless behaviour amid the pandemic, especially when there is a complete ban in the state on all gatherings and any violation of the ban would be highly detrimental to the interests of Punjab and its people.
Such a dharna would draw people mainly from the villages, which are in any case going through a crisis during the second wave, he pointed out.
The group’s action is also completely unwarranted considering the total support the state government had extended to them all these months on the issue of the farm laws, said Amarinder.
His government was the first to pass amendment laws in the Assembly to contravene the farm laws, he pointed out. “It is time for the farmers now to reciprocate by supporting the state government in the fight against the pandemic,” he said, adding that just as the farmers’ interests were inexorably linked with that of Punjab, so was the state’s interest dependent on the farmers’ support to his government in the battle against Covid.
Pointing out that even during the peak of the second Covid surge in Punjab, things had not gone out of control here as they had in several other states, the CM said the state had been one of the best performing so far as the management of the pandemic was concerned.
The only serious problem that it faced was the shortage of vaccines, which was not due to any mismanagement of the state government but that of the Centre, said Amarinder, rejecting all charges of his government failing to tackle the pandemic effectively.
He pointed out that as a result of the concerted efforts of the government, the medical fraternity, the police, the civil administration and the village panchayats (who had been conducting Theekri Pehras), Punjab had successfully brought the number of cases to 5,421, with 201 deaths, on May 22, from a high of nearly 10,000 just about two weeks ago.
But given the gravity of the situation, there was no scope for any laxity in Covid appropriate behaviour, and rallies or dharnas of any kind were totally unacceptable when the lives of the people were at stake, the CM asserted.
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