No special concession for Ramzan in Punjab as curfew to remain imposed till May 3: Capt. Amarinder Singh

He ordered the Deputy Commissioners in all districts to enforce the lockdown order strictly with no relaxation or concessions whatsoever

Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh

Bipin Bhardwaj

Ruling out any relaxation in curfew till May 3, Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder on Sunday ordered strict enforcement of the lockdown. He ordered the Deputy Commissioners in all districts to enforce the order strictly with no relaxation or concessions whatsoever even during the Ramzan period beginning this week.

He, however, asked them to ensure free procurement of wheat across the state.

The CM also made it clear that no special curfew passes should be issued to the people on account of Ramzan. The Chief Minister directed the DCs to take firm steps to ensure that there is no crowding at the grocery and other shops selling essentials at this time, and all norms of social distancing are strictly adhered to.

The CM took the decision after reviewing the current situation with senior officers from the administration and police department.

The decision assumes significance in the backdrop of various relaxations given by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs for non-containment zones in the country, effective April 20. However, taking into consideration the ground situation, the CM is of the firm view that there should be no relaxation, except already announced by his government with respect to harvesting and procurement operations, as well as those relating to operations of certain industries/brick kilns and construction activity, which are housing migrant labourers or have them on-site, according to an official spokesperson.

Amid concerns that the hygiene conditions were not up to the mark in the Mandis, the CM has also ordered a health audit of these centres, where 1.85 lakh metric tonnes of wheat is expected to arrive till June, when the procurement will come to an end. This will infuse around Rs 35000 crore, including the CCL payment of Rs 26000 crore received from the Centre, into the state economy, thus giving it the much-needed support for fighting the COVID-19 battle effectively.

An official spokesperson said the Chief Minister made it clear that all efforts should be focused, at the moment, on saving lives and on ensuring that the procurement operations are conducted smoothly and in a COVID free environment. Any decision on the way forward would be taken after May 3, taking into account the situation prevailing then and the report of the Expert Committee set up to formulate the state’s exit strategy. The committee is expected to submit its report this week.

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