The Punjab government will soon introduce urine test every six months for dispensing deaddiction drugs to check abuse.
CM Amarinder Singh disclosed this during his #AskCaptain Facebook Live session on Saturday in response to a question.
A Ludhiana youth had requested the CM to direct OOAT clinics to give 10 days of medicine at a time, as per the past practice, as otherwise a lot of time was wasted every day in long queues to get the daily dose of medication. The youth added that due to this delay, he was getting late for work every day.
In response, the Chief Minister said his government would soon introduce urine test every six months to ensure that there is no diversion of the medicine. While the government has already allowed 7-day take-home for the de-addiction medicines, bulk quantities could not be handed over as this has the potential for abuse and can be counterproductive, he added.
There has been a sharp increase in the number of patient visits and medicine distribution at the OOAT centres per day over the past 3 months in view of the Covid-19 restrictions, which have affected availability of drugs for addicts. The number of patients coming for treatment rose three times from July, 2018 to June, 2020. A total of 1,03,553 patients came for medicine in the month of July, 2019, whereas this number jumped to 3,26,301 till June 20 in just one year.
ON WEARING MASKS
Getting upset with the people for not wearing masks, CM warned of consequences as Covid-19 was spiking in the state. Amarinder asked why it was so difficult to wear masks and wash hands or not spit on roads. “Don’t you care for your fellow Punjabis,” he asked those who insisted on continuously ignoring his appeals to adhere to all safety norms. Citing the example of Maharashtra and Delhi, he said the safety of Punjab was in the hands of its people.
Reacting to a desperate question from a Shutrana resident on when coronavirus will end as one could not wear the mask at all times, Amarinder said even he has the same question and is fed up of the situation. But till this ends, there is no option but to wear the mask, he said, adding “we will pass through this difficult time together, we shall win.”
The CM also told the youth that while his government had announced opening of gyms from August 5, in line with the Centre’s Unlock 3.0 guidelines, they would need to strictly follow all protocols and the directives which the health department would be issuing shortly.
APPEAL TO DONATE PLASMA
Underlining the need for precautions and early detection to save lives, Amarinder again reiterated his appeal for the recovered Covid patients to donate plasma, for which one plasma bank was already operational and two more were all set to come up in the state.
“If I were a recovered patient, I would have definitely donated plasma,” he said, adding that he had already directed that plasma be made available free of cost at all government and private hospitals.
In response to a request from a Ludhiana resident for daily updates on bed availability to be posted on Cova App, the Chief Minister said he would direct the Health Department to arrange for the same. He assured that there was no shortage of beds, with adequate arrangements already in place for anticipated spike in cases.
REDUCING VAT ON DIESEL
Asked if Punjab would follow Delhi’s move to reduce VAT on diesel, the Chief Minister said the state’s VAT was already lower than Delhi’s and it was not possible to cut it down further due to the financial constraints. The state government needs to raise revenues and find ways to do it, but that does not mean it will go for further increase in VAT, he added.
Regarding shortage of stamp papers of various denominations, the Chief Minister said closure of the printing press for stamp papers in Nasik during the lockdown period had led to delay. Teams from Punjab would be going on Monday to bring the stamp papers from Nasik, and supply would be adequate after August 15, he added.
In the context of some Punjabi singers promoting the gun culture, the Chief Minister appealed to all singers to stop singing such songs and instead to promote Punjab’s culture and ideology. He told the Rajpura resident who raised concern on the issue that arresting the singers was not really a solution.
On a question from Kargil Gallantry Award and Sena Medal winner Balkar Singh from Barnala regarding one-rank promotion for police and defence personnel as announced earlier, the Chief Minister said the state government was committed to giving one-step promotion to the gallantry award winners. He assured Balkar that he was entitled to this benefit, which would be provided soon.
The Chief Minister took serious note of the complaint of Kulwinder Singh Bagga, a former school Principal and Director, about a filthy and stinking drain flowing from outside the military station passing General Harbakhsh Singh Enclave, Sangrur. The resident complained that the army discharges its sewage overflow into the drain and people throw their garbage into it as there is no system of collecting garbage. The drain had never been cleaned and the situation had deteriorated in the monsoons, said Kulwinder. In response, the CM said he was asking the DC to take up the matter with the Army authorities and was also asking PPCB o check what else can be done to ensure that the drain is cleaned out.
The Chief Minister ordered an inquiry and asked DC Hoshiarpur to submit the report within one week on the complaint of Commodore V K Gautam (Retd) alleging fabrication of revenue records by Circle Revenue Officer of Mukerian to omit the process of auction to blackmail him after he purchased a property in auction. Captain Amarinder said the matter was serious and action would be taken.
On the issue of fake NGOs in the state, the Chief Minister said many had done good work in the Covid-19 crisis but if there were any fake ones, the complainant should submit a list to enable the government to take strict action.
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