Amidst reports of disrupted supply of essential commodities and violation of curfew orders on the first day of 21-day nationwide lockdown, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Wednesday came out with new commandments to streamline the curfew management and facilitate supply of essentials.
Besides issuing a fresh set of directives to the police and civil administration including detailed instructions for issuance of passes to maintain critical systems and services in order to ensure that people are not inconvenienced in these difficult times, the Chief Minister has also constituted a Committee, under the chairmanship of Additional Chief Secretary (Industry and Commerce), to oversee the procurement processes for all CoViD-19 related items.
As per the revised curfew management guidelines, government offices that have been designated in Government of India’s order will be allowed to remain open with skeletal staff.
In order to ensure supply of other essential services, specific State Government offices may also be required to remain open with minimal functional staff. Such employees of the State Government and those employees of Government of India that have been allowed to report on duty as per Government of India’s order will be allowed to travel from home to office on their institutional Identity Card, and specific curfew passes will not be necessary, the revised guidelines states.
It is specifically provided in the guidelines that for employees of Governments including PSUs and SPUs, of Haryana, Punjab and UT of Chandigarh who are residing in Mohali district (especially Mohali and Zirakpur) and are facing acute problems in reaching their offices, located in Chandigarh and Panchkula, it has been decided that they may be allowed to commute to their offices for official duty (not with their families or in groups) by showing their official or institutional photo ID cards and they would not be required to obtain special curfew passes.
At the same time, it was clarified that all other Government employees will be directed to work from home and remain available on call should any such need arise.
It was also clarified that there would be no general relaxation in curfew. In case, it is decided by the District Administration in due course to relax it in a selected area, due care must be taken to avoid overcrowding and to observe prescribed social distancing,” stated the fresh guidelines.
Taking cognizance of the need to ensure timely supply of critical materials and equipment, including PPE kits, masks, medicines etc, to government hospitals, primary and community health centres (PHCs and CHCs), the Deputy Commissioners have been asked to contact Punjab State Health and Family Welfare Department and Punjab Health System Corporation (PHSC) managing director with the facility of sending advance indents to facilitate early procurements.
At the same time, Capt Amarinder has ordered that requisite protocol issued by the Health Department for testing of suspected cases should be followed meticulously. Further, compliance of protocol issued by the Health Department, dated March 22, 2020, should be strictly ensured.
Continuing with its earlier curfew orders, the State Government will take all possible steps to avoid any undue inconvenience to the providers of essential services and general public, the Chief Minister assured the people.
He has directed the police and administrative officials to ensure that door-to-door delivery of essential services is maintained for the desired or prescribed period and it may, as far as possible, be further streamlined with the assistance of e-commerce companies or service providers.
Volunteers may also be engaged, if necessary, for ensuring prompt door-to-door delivery of essential services and commodities, said the Chief Minister, adding that providers of essential services whether individuals (hawkers or delivery boys) or institutions should be allowed to operate for fixed duration but on specific permissions and after observing required health safeguards.
The Chief Minister also ordered sanitization of affected or vulnerable areas, etc for which guidelines have been issued by the Health and Family Welfare Department to be undertaken in both concerned towns and villages.
On directives of the Chief Minister, Secretary Arun Sekhri on Wednesday issued revised curfew management guidelines to all Divisional Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners, Commissioners of Police or SSPs, as well as other senior officials concerned with managing the situation.
The DCs have been asked to ensure strict compliance of the guidelines.
With the civil administration and police working in close coordinate, DGP Dinkar Gupta also issued clear instructions to his officers to ensure efficient delivery mechanisms and processes in the light of curfew with no relaxations already in place in the State, and the subsequent national lockdown announcement by the Prime Minister.
He emphasized arrangements for door-to-door delivery of essential goods and services as the only option in the given situation and asked the CPs and SSPs to ensure that functioning of delivery boys, rehris, small motorized vehicles etc is facilitated to ensure smooth supplies.
For individual emergencies, DCs have been asked to continue following up and facilitating the common man through helplines already established in the districts. The number of helplines and persons attending on such lines may be increased and properly publicized, the guidelines state.
For procurement of wheat, ACS (Development) and PSFS would issue a comprehensive mandi-wise plan in due course.
Likewise, for harvesting of potatoes, ACS (Development) would issue necessary guidelines by Friday, March 27, 2020.