Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking reconsideration of the order of the Ministry of Home Affairs, issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005. He urged the Centre to reconsider its directives asking industry, shops and commercial establishments to continue paying full wages to their workers during the COVID-19 lockdown period. He contended that this might push the shops, industries, and commercial establishments to bankruptcy.
Furthermore, he appealed the union government to look for innovative solutions to protect the interests of the workers, in these difficult times, without causing irreparable damage to the industry and commercial establishments. The letter mentioned that all the employers, be it in the industry or in the shops and commercial establishments, shall pay wages to their workers, at their workplace, on the due date, without any deduction, for the period their establishment are under closure during the lockdown.
On the other hand, Captain Amarinder said, the workers, especially the low-paid ones, could be deprived of their income for no fault of theirs. The Chief Minister termed it as imperative that the Centre should reexamine the matter and explore some innovative solutions whereby the interests of the workers can be protected without impairing the financial health of commercial and industrial units beyond repair.
A few hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the extension of the lockdown till May 3, the Punjab government followed suit and issued an official notification in this regard. Earlier, the state government had declared that the lockdown would remain in place till April 30. The Additional Chief Secretary (Home) clarified that the already granted relaxations and guidelines intimated to the district authorities would remain valid during this period. He also added that the curfew passes already issued shall remain acceptable.
At the same time, he wrote that fresh guidelines would be issued by the Punjab government after the receipt of instructions from the Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday.