PUNJAB CM REJECTS REPORTS ON EXTENSION OF CURFEW IN STATE BEYOND APRIL 14

SAYS DECISION WILL BE TAKEN AFTER CABINET MEET ON APRIL 10, IN LARGER INTEREST OF PUNJAB

CHANDIGARH, APRIL 8:Rejecting media reports to the contrary, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday made it clear that no decision had yet been taken on extending the curfew in the state beyond April 14.

Terming such reports as purely speculative and unfounded, the Chief Minister categorically stated that the state government was yet to take a decision in the matter. A decision in this regard would be taken after the cabinet meeting scheduled for April 10, he added.

The Chief Minister clarified that the speculation on curfew extension had been triggered by an advisory to employees from the General Administration department on a series of matters relating to the current situation. The said advisory had subsequently been withdrawn by the Chief Secretary on his directives, Captain Amarinder added.

The state government was continuously assessing and reviewing the evolving situation, which was changing day to day, and any decision would be taken in the context of the conditions prevailing around mid-April, keeping in mind the overall interest of the state and its people, said Captain Amarinder.

Though pandemic was currently in control in Punjab, nothing could be predicted at the moment, given the ever-changing dynamics of the situation, said the Chief Minister, adding that all the factors would be taken into account before coming to a final decision on extending or lifting the curfew, either fully or partially.

“We are keeping a close arch on the situation, not just in Punjab but across the country. We are also taking into account the way the pandemic is behaving in other countries so that we can imbue their learnings and act accordingly,” the Chief Minister said.

The early clampdown in India had helped and while the situation was somewhat better than the more advanced nations, one could not get complacent, and the next few days would be critical to any decision on the way forward, he added. He reiterated that saving lives was the top priority of his government at the moment and whatever decision is taken will be centered around that, seeing how the pandemic shapes up in the state in the coming days.

Notably, the Punjab Government had imposed a statewide curfew on March 23, even a day before Prime Minister announced the 21-day national lockdown.

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TASK FORCE TO BE SET UP TO FIND WAYS FOR PUNJAB TO GRADUALLY GET OUT OF LOCKDOWN, ANNOUNCES CAPT AMARINDER

DURING VIDEO CONFERENCE TO DISCUSS SITUATION, SEEKS INDUSTRY’S SUGGESTIONS ON WAY FORWARD

ASKS DEPT TO LOOK INTO VARIOUS ISSUES RAISED BY LEADING INDUSTRIALISTS, INCLUDING PERMISSION TO REOPEN TRACTORS & ANCILLARY INDUSTRIES

Chandigarh, April 8:Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday announced that a Task Force would soon be set up to find ways for the state to gradually get out of the unprecedented lockdown.

Addressing a Video Conference of the state’s leading industrialists, the Chief Minister assured the industry of all support by the government to address critical issues and challenges in this difficult time. While seeking the industry’s suggestions on the way forward, invited them to be part of the government’s decision-making process in the extraordinary situation that is prevailing currently.

Among the various issues raised by industry leaders was the demand for declaring tractors & ancillary industries as essential and allowing them reopen to meet the urgent needs of farmers in the Rabi harvesting and marketing season. The demand for declaring cycles as essential commodity was also raised. Another suggestion that came up was to allow the packaging industry to resume operations, given its importance in ensuring streamlined operations of essential commodities.

Other suggestions from the industry related to revival of air cargo services to Chandigarh, as well as incentives to health and medical start-ups in the state. A suggestion for relief to the tourism industry, that had been badly hit by the lockdown, was also discussed.

]A major issue discussed at the meeting related to the problems faced by pharmaceutical companies, which were playing a pivotal role in tackling the COVID-19 crisis. Among these problems was closure of inter-state transport in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as certain restrictions to movement of goods and labour from Haryana. Cash flow problems were also highlighted by the industry, who wanted clarity on the payments to be made to the workers during this critical period.

The Chief Minister asked the Industry Department to take urgent notice of these issues and resolve them at the earliest, given the guidelines in place for certain industries to operate amid the national lockdown. If anyone wants to operate, they should approach the state government and all efforts would be made to address their requests within the framework of the guidelines, he added.

Even as he thanked the industry for their unstinted support to the state government in this hour of crisis, the Chief Minister said the battle ahead was a prolonged one, with far-reaching global implications for the economy and the industry. Everyone is suffering because of the closures, which India clamped early to check the spread of the pandemic, he said, adding that perhaps the early steps taken had helped. At the moment, things were in control in Punjab, he added.

Pointing out that his request to the industry for holding back and taking care of the migrant labour was not an order but a suggestion, the Chief Minister said since it was still not clear how the long the closure/lockdown would need to continue, it was important to keep them back. Had the migrant labour left they would not have easily come back, which would have caused immense difficulty for the state, which is heading into the harvesting and procurement season, he added.

Concerns were expressed at the meeting over the economic slowdown resulting from the lockdown and the CII representative suggested that taxation officers could work from hone to process GST and VAT refunds. The CII is also donating 20 ventilators to help out the health department to tackle the medical emergency facing the state.

It was felt by some industrialists that the post-Corona shift from China to other countries would offer an opportunity for India, which Punjab should actively explore.

The industry earlier thanked the Chief Minister for reduction in power tariff for the next two months, which would be of particular benefit to small industries. They also expressed appreciation for the state government’s early decision to go for lockdown/curfew.

Industry Minister Sunder Shyam Arora appreciated the role played by industry, which had risen to the occasion in this major battle. Transport Secretary K Siva Prasad said all efforts were being made to ensure smooth transportation, with control rooms to coordinate and manage the movement between states and districts.

Participants in the conference included Sachit Jain, Rajinder Gupta (Trident), A S Mittal (Sonalika), Upkar Ahuja, Harish Chavan (Mahindra), Karan Gilhotra, Sachid Madan ( ITC), Rahul Ahuja (CII), Pankaj Munjal (Hero Cycles), Gautam Kapoor, Rupinder Sachdeva, S P Oswal, Kamal Oswal, Dinesh Dua (Pharma), Ashok Sethi ( Basmati), Komal Talwar ( IT), Mukul Verma ( Sports Goods), Bhavdeep Sardana.

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55 RETIRED POLICE PERSONNEL INCLUDING KARGIL MARTYR'S FATHER COME FORWARD TO ASSIST RUPNAGAR POLICE IN WAR AGAINST COVID

INVALUABLE EXPERIENCE AND SKILLS WOULD FURTHER ENHANCE ON GROUND POLICING, SAYS SSP SWAPAN SHARMA

CHANDIGARH/RUPNAGAR, APRIL 8: Setting a shining example of professional camaraderie & committment to duty, 55 retired police personnel including the father of Kargil martyr have voluntarily offered their services to assist Rupnagar Police in its efforts to eliminate Covid-19 threat.

One Deputy Superintendent (DSP), along with 12 Inspectors, 16 Sub-Inspectors (SI), besides 21 Assistant Sub Inspectors (ASI), 11 Head Constables and 4 Ex-Servicemen are already manning as many as 16 check points including diversions and isolation check points from NFL Chowk Nangal to Banmajra and New Satluj Bridge Ghanauli, the SSP Swapan Sharma disclosed.

Once a policeman always a policeman, the SSP said lauding their spirit and dedication adding their priceless experience and capabilities would further enhance our ability to ensure effective policing on the ground.

The will to serve the nation remains as strong as ever in our hearts, says Kargil martyr Sarbjit Singh's father Pritam Singh who had retired from the rank of Head Constable. For us nation stands supreme. It is a new kind of threat that we are facing, and I am happy to render any service which eases burden of my brothers in khaki, the SSP added.

For the 74-years-old Inspector Gurmail Singh - who also served as CIA incharge for 12 long years during his years at Punjab Police - the critical juncture is an excellent opportunity to pick up from where he left in 2004. It's our fortune that once again we got a chance to serve our society. We may not have same agility but surely have the experience and will to defeat this pandemic.

These an unprecedented times and we are willing to do our best to complement state efforts to mitigate this threat, said Retired Sub Inspector Daleep Singh who arrested hardened terrorists during his service days.

Retired Sub Inspector Naseeb Chand, who was injured in a crossfire during counter insurgency operation is happy to be back in the line of duty. Who else if not us would come down to relieve huge burden that's fallen on our police forces. I am proud to have served Punjab Police and am back to do my bit in current times in ensuring a tough fight against corona, he said.

I will teach the new boys in the police force on how to deal with emergency situations and curfew enforcement," says the brilliant investigator of his times standing proudly on duty at Bassi Gujran, Chamkaur Sahib, shared Sub Inspector Satvir Singh who retired in 2014.

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Technical Education Minister Channi directs MRSPTU & IKGPTU to use online methodology to conduct classes of students

  • Decision taken so that the students do not suffer during lockdown: Channi

Chandigarh, April 8: The Technical Education and Industrial Training, Minister, Mr. Charanjit Singh Channi, has given directions to both the Technical Education Universities of Punjab to take steps and ensure that study of the students does not suffer during lockdown. Mr. Channi has also appealed to the entire faculty to come forward during this time of distress for the help of students.

In a press statement issued here today, Principal secretary, Technical Education & Industrial Training, Sh. Anurag Verma, IAS said that IKG PTU and MRS PTU and their constituent/ affiliated colleges have been told to conduct classes using online methodology using various techniques available like youtube, zoom, Skype ,google classroom, whattsapp groups etc, so that the students do not suffer because of the present scenario. Mr Verma said that both the Universities have been advised to use MOOCS(Massive online open courses) using SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active learning for Young Aspiring Minds)platform developed by UGC/AICTE sharing online content of study. Mr. Verma said that Vice Chancellors of both the Universities have been asked provide all necessary support for guidance to the faculty as well as students to switch over to online teaching .

Dr. Ajay Sharma Vice Chancellor IKGPTU & Dr MPS Ishar VC MRSPTU, said that their universities and constituent/ affiliated colleges are conducting live video streaming of classes to run academic programmes smoothly for its students. They said that the faculty members have also been asked to work from home and stream their video lectures to students wherever they are. The students can put their questions live through chat and same can be immediately answered by a teacher. This is done to ensure that the semester of the students is saved, in the unlikely case of a prolonged crisis. The Vice Chancellors of both the universities further explained that the faculty has been instructed to keep a record of attendance of students participating through online methodology and share assignments/ quizzes etc. also for evaluation purposes.

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PATIALA POLICE ARRESTS LOCAL YOUTH FOR POSTING DEROGATORY & OBJECTIONABLE MESSAGES ON HIS FACEBOOK

DGP REITERATES STRICT ACTION AGAINST ALL THOSE POSTING SUCH MESSAGES ON SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS

CHANDIGARH, APRIL 8: In a major crackdown against the persons, who are posting derogatory and objectionable messages on various social platforms, the Patiala Police has registered a criminal case against Akashdeep for posting such messages against a community to create communal disharmony amongst members of different communities.

Divulging the details, the DGP Dinkar Gupta said that immediately after this incident was brought into his notice by the members of the community based in Ludhiana, the SSP Patiala swung into action. Subsequently, a FIR no. 111 dated 8.4.20 u/s 188, 295A, 505 C IPC and Section 54 of the Disaster Management Act 2005 has been registered at PS Tripuri (Patiala) against Akash Deep, who had been arrested in this case. He will be produced in Court tomorrow and his mobile phone used for uploading this objectionable content has also been taken into possession, while investigations are in progress, added DGP.

Meanwhile, the DGP warned that swift, sure and strict legal action would be taken against the persons violating curfew, which has been clamped to protect public health and prevent the spread of coronavirus. He also pointed out that anyone trying to disturb the peace and communal harmony in the state by posting objectionable content or speaking against any religion or community or anyone circulating fake and false messages or rumours would also be dealt with severely.

Notably, Gupta had earlier issued a strict warning to radical and mischievous elements in the society that the Punjab Police would adopt zero-tolerance against persons/organizations who are trying to incite communal hatred and fan communal passions through their speeches, statements, writings, posts on social media platforms etc. A case in this connection has been registered earlier by Amritsar (Rural) Police and arrested local Shiv Sena leader Sudhir Suri.

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