COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Punjab Government to take call on curfew tomorrow

No clarity yet on extension | State may review budgetary allocations in Cabinet meet

Punjab Government to take call on curfew tomorrow

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8

‘Report Speculative’

  • Rejecting media reports to the contrary, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Wednesday made it clear that no decision had yet been taken on extending the curfew.
  • He clarified that the speculation on curfew extension was triggered by an advisory to employees on a series of matters relating to the current situation.
  • The advisory had subsequently been withdrawn by the Chief

    Secretary on his directions, he added.

\Apart from taking a call on the extension of curfew beyond April 14, the Cabinet, which will meet on Friday, will decide on financial cuts required to cope with the battle against Covid-19.

Development works have already been halted to spare resources to counter the outbreak. In the last Cabinet meeting held on April 4, the Chief Minister had directed the Finance Minister to prepare a roadmap for the post-lockdown situation.

The financial steps could include reviewing budgetary allocations for various schemes, diversion of funds, seeking funds from the Centre, staggered payment of salaries etc.

Though the ministers and Congress MLAs have announced donating one month’s salary to the CM’s relief fund, the Centre’s decision to cut by 30 per cent salaries and allowances of the Prime Minister, cabinet ministers and MPs for one year is expected to be taken up, said sources.

The neighbouring BJP-ruled Himachal Pradesh has already announced 30 per cent cut in salaries and allowances of the CM, ministers, MLAs and political appointees.

On the extension of curfew beyond April 14, the Cabinet is expected to take a decision in line with the Centre’s strategy on containing Covid spread.

The state government is continuously assessing the situation, which was changing each passing day, and any decision would be taken in the context of the conditions prevailing around mid-April.

Reports from the Centre suggest chances of extension of the national lockdown, aimed at enforcing social distancing. Opening up industry in a phased manner, mobilisation of workforce for harvesting and procurement of wheat and movement of essential services are already being done. There was likelihood of extension of other restrictions, but a final call would be taken on April 10, the sources said.

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