Himachal Pradesh government’s monthly revenue has fallen by 90 per cent in wake of the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic, CM Jai Ram Thakur said here on Monday.
The total government revenue, tax plus non-tax, for the first 20 days of this month was expected to be Rs 400 to Rs 450 crore (last year’s revenue for the same period) but only turned out to be only Rs 40 to 50 crore, Thakur and Chief Secretary A K Khachi told mediapersons during a press briefing here.
Thakur also said that although restrictions would be eased in certain sectors, the inter-district movement and movement of people into the state would continue to be strictly restricted, including for those people from the state who are stranded elsewhere.
“We know it’s a tough situation for everyone and can understand their plight. But under the present circumstances, saving human lives is our top priority. For students stranded in Kota, we’re in regular touch with the area MP and authorities who have assured us that the students are not suffering from lack of shelter or food. Similarly, in other parts of the country, we can get in touch with the local authorities to ensure their well-being,” said Thakur.
He added that such tough measures have helped the state in breaking the chain of transmission. The CM added: “I have put up my own number on the helpline, and I’m getting 70 to 90 calls each half hour, mostly from people who want to return home. I can understand their pain. But I appeal to them to stay put where ever they are for some more time.”
He also announced a compensation package for COVID fighters, promising Rs 50 lakh to any health worker, cop, sanitation worker or any employee engaged in the active case finding campaign who dies during duty due to infection. He said that Rs 112 crore has been provided to more than five lakh farmers under the direct transfer relief by the Centre, and nearly six lakh women with Jan Dhan accounts will also be benefitted.
Government officials said that the state is being provided five TRUNET machines from the Centre for testing, while 30,000 rapid testing kits have been sought by the state.
Chief Secretary Anil Khachi told the media that around 75 per cent of all COVID-19 patients so far have been asymptomatic. 40 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the state so far from six out of 12 districts.
Cong writes to Governor
In a letter to the Governor, Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri, former CM Virbhadra Singh and several other Congress MLAs asked the government to come up with an austerity plan. “A 10-15 per cent cut in the budget of departments, diversion of the Rs 1,000 crores proposed for the airport to the Health Department, ban on mass transfers and purchase of vehicles for at least two years are the need of the hour,” the letter said.
Theog MLA’s protest
Meanwhile, CPI(M) MLA Rakesh Singha on Monday protested outside the SDM office in Shimla alleging that stranded labourers, especially those from J&K, were not being provided adequate ration. SDM Neeraj Chandla told Singha that several attempts were made to provide ration to labourers from J&K but they refused saying they had supplies but wanted to go home. Replying to media queries on Theog MLA’s protest to demand permission for stranded labourers from J&K to return home, Thakur said that the government that it was being ensured that they have no shortage of ration or shelter.
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