Tribune News Service
Amritsar, April 6
Members of the Amritsar Resort Welfare Association, Tent Association and other organisations converged at the Court Chowk on Tuesday to hold a protest against the government for imposing restrictions on opening of restaurants and resorts in the wake of resurgence in the number of Covid-19 cases.
‘Before closing resorts and restaurants, the government must close rallies, liquor vends and government-run programmes’, read a bunting held by one of the protesters.
They asked the government to impose restrictions on the number of people gathered and timing of political parties before putting the entire onus on restaurants and resorts.
“Irrespective of the high number of Covid-19 positive cases being reported from the district daily, social and political organisations are not evincing interest in maintaining social distance to play their role,” said Mandeep Singh Manna, a social worker.
He accused the Congress and Akali leaders of holding political rallies without impunity. For instance, he pointed out that SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal managed to organise a crowd of over 8,000 people at the SK Resort in Zirakpur recently.
Congress party’s Mayor Karamjit Singh Rintu managed to pull a crowd of some 300 people at Ward Number 15 here on Monday. Now, the Congress has announced to hold a rally at Attari on April 9. He said apart from political parties, many social organisations were also violating norms but it hardly grabbed the attention of authorities.
He challenged the Capt Amarinder Singh government to prevent holding of such rallies in the face of rising Covid-19 cases.
He said the neighbouring states of Haryana and Himachal were allowing a gathering of 500 persons at any given party to increase economic activity. On the other hand, Punjab’s rules were different for political parties and common people.
Ranjit Singh, president of the Amritsar Resorts’ Welfare Association, said: “Resorts and restaurants are being closed at 9 pm. To comply with the norms, the staff had to wind up operations an hour in advance. After harvesting of crops, marriage functions and parties propel the economic activity ensuring sales across segment such as jewellery, food, dairy products, clothing, cosmetics, florists, electricians, labourers, waiters, taxis and others.”
Happy Narula of the Tent Association said: “When it comes to financial help, the government does not even reduce the power tariff. For the past one year, these economic establishments have not been allowed to operate, rendering waiters, DJs, labourers and trades associated with the profession jobless.”
They also handed over a memorandum to ADC Dr Himanshu Aggarwal. He said their demands included relaxation in the timing and the number of people gathering at marriage palaces, resorts and restaurants. He assured that norms would be relaxed when the number of positive cases comes down, which is only possible when everyone complies with social distancing norms.
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