CHANDIGARH: Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday ordered a curfew across Punjab, making it the first state in the country to resort to this extreme measure in the battle against COVID-19.
The decision was taken after the CM reviewed the situation with the state chief secretary Karan A Singh and DGP Dinkar Gupta. The deputy commissioners have been asked to issue orders accordingly.
After observing that people were venturing out of their homes and not following the lockdown, the state government imposed the curfew but it has not been confirmed until when it will remain in place.
Any person required to be given relaxation will be allowed specifically for a given period and purpose.
A senior state government functionary said that this strict measure was taken after reports said some
people contracted the infection at the Hola Mohalla celebrations in Anandpur Sahib earlier this month, despite directions against holding such gatherings
"The curfew was the only means to keep people indoors, who were still out despite orders of lockdown. Any exemptions to be given for essential services will be announced later,’’ he added.
Even for essential services, including doctors, chemists, and daily goods shops, it was mandatory to apply for permission, and only thereafter could they run their operations.
Giving details of the relief measures announced by the state government, Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh said the due date to pay water and sewerage bills has been deferred by one month in all Municipal Corporations and Councils, besides extending the amnesty scheme on property tax till May 31.
Also, the due date for payment of all those domestic, commercial and small power industrial consumers having monthly/bimonthly electricity bills up to Rs 10,000, which falls on or after March 20 has been extended up to April 15. The Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has been asked not to recover the late payment surcharge from the nearly 35 lakh consumers who would benefit from
The transport department has extended the due date of all taxes under the Punjab Motor Vehicle Taxation Act by one month up to April 30. Stage and contract carriage vehicles would be given 100 per cent exemption from the Motor Vehicle Tax for the period in which these are not allowed to ply.
Extending a helping hand to farmers in this hour of crisis, the Cooperation Department has decided to waive for two months (March-April 2020) penal interest on their crop, which is obtained by them from Central Coop Banks & Primary Agriculture Co-op Societies. Consequent to this decision, these farmers can now repay their crop loans till April 30.
At present, the state has reported one death and 21 confirmed cases.