Taking note of the “highly irresponsible” behaviour of some people not following the COVID-19 rules, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday said the state’s safety is in the hands of its people.
He warned of dangerous consequences for the state, which has been witnessing a spike in COVID-19 cases over the past few days, if people did not follow the safety norms.
Pointing out that 4,900 challans were issued to people for various violations on Friday, Mr Singh asked why it is so difficult for people to wear masks, wash hands or not spit on roads.
“Don’t you care for your fellow Punjabis?” he asked during his weekly Facebook Live “Ask Captain” interaction.
Citing the example of Maharashtra and Delhi, which have high COVID-19 caseload, he said the safety of Punjab was in the hands of its people.
During the interaction, Mr Singh told a youth that while his government had allowed gyms to reopen from August 5, in line with the Centre’s Unlock3 guidelines, people would need to strictly follow all protocols and directives which will be issued by the health department shortly.
Underlining the need to take precautions and early detection to save lives, Mr Singh once again appealed to recovered COVID-19 patients to donate plasma.
While one plasma bank is already operational and two more will come up in the state.
“If I were a recovered patient, I would have definitely donated plasma,” the chief minister said, adding that he had already given orders that plasma be made available free of cost across all government and private hospitals.
To a question from a Shutrana resident on when COVID-19 will end so that people don’t have to wear masks at all times, Mr Singh said he has the same question and is fed up with the situation.
But till this ends, there is no option but to wear a mask, he said. “We will get through this difficult time together, we shall win,” he added.
Punjab reported its sharpest single-day spike of 944 COVID-19 cases on Saturday, pushing its tally to 17,063. The contagious disease has claimed 405 lives in the state so far, according to official data.
After a Rajpura resident expressed concern that some Punjabi singers are promoting the gun culture through their work, Singh appealed to all artistes to stop singing such songs and instead promote Punjab’s culture and ideology.
Arresting these singers is not really a solution. These people need to understand the negative impact of such songs on the youth, he said.
Asked if Punjab would follow Delhi’s move to reduce Value Added Tax on diesel, Mr Singh said the state’s VAT is already lower than Delhi’s and it is not possible to cut it down further due to financial constraints.
The state government needs to raise its revenue and find ways to do it, but that does not mean it will further increase VAT, he said.