Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 10
The Punjab Government on Friday decided to extend the curfew in the state till May 1, a government spokesperson said.
The decision, taken at a Cabinet meeting that Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh chaired through video-conference, is meant to check community spread of the coronavirus pandemic, and particularly to prevent overcrowding at the mandis in the light of the upcoming harvest season.
Captain Amarinder will convey the decision to Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Saturday’s conference with the chief ministers, an official spokesperson said.
Citing the grim projections about the spread of the pandemic in the coming weeks, the chief minister said the restrictions were essential so the state’s medical infrastructure was not overburdened.
“There was general consensus in the medical community that the lockdown curbs would only delay the spread of the disease,” he said, adding that he hoped there was a cure soon.
The Cabinet has decided to set up a multi-disciplinary task force to draw up an exit strategy for gradual easing of the curfew. The task force will have 15 members representing trade, business, industry, agriculture, civil society and health care professionals, and has 10 days to submit its report, officials said.
The cabinet also decided to extend school holidays until May 1 and promote students of Classes 5 and 8 to the next class on the basis of previous examinations conducted this year.
The Cabinet also approved establishment of a high-powered committee to suggest a road map for state’s economic revival after the coronavirus crisis ends. Punjab Cabinet decided that former Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Ahluwalia will head the committee.
The Cabinet also decided to ask the central government to set up an Advance Centre of Virology in Punjab at an estimated investment of Rs 500 crore, with the state government to offer land free of cost for the project.
The Cabinet decided to set up a task force under the Principal Secretary, PWD, for quickly upgrading of the state’s health infrastructure to deal with the health crisis. The health department has been asked to submit a detailed proposal for this, officials said.
The development comes as the central government also considers extending its 21-day nationwide lockdown that ends on April 14.
The Punjab Government was the first to impose a statewide lockdown on March 23, a day before the Prime Minister announced the 21-day national lockdown.
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