Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday ordered a state-wide curfew, making it the first state to resort to such an extreme and exceptional measure to fight COVID-19. Under the order, there will be no relaxation on the curfew. The District Commissioners can, however, allow relaxation to any person in need, but for a specific period.
After reviewing situation with Chief Secretary & @DGPPunjabPolice, announced full curfew with no relaxations. DCs have been asked to issue orders accordingly. Any person required to be given relaxation will be so allowed specifically for given period & purpose. pic.twitter.com/uX5ZnMTFmB— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) March 23, 2020
Captain Amarinder also announced relief measures to support the people affected due to the state-wide curfew in wake of Coronavirus. These measures included free food, shelter and medicines for the needy. He sanctioned Rs 20 crores from the Chief Minister’s relief fund for the same and asked the DCs & SDMs to extend all assistance to the needy.
CM Amarinder has also announced deferment of payment of electricity, sewerage and water bills in Punjab. He directed the local Government department to defer the due date of bill payment for water and sewerage by one month in all Municipal Corporations and Councils, besides extending the amnesty scheme on property tax till May 31, 2020.
Similarly, the due date for payment of all those domestic, commercial and small power industrial consumers having monthly/bi-monthly electricity bills up to Rs. 10,000, which falls on or after March 20, 2020, has been extended up to April 15, 2020. The Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has been asked not to recover the late payment surcharge from these nearly 35 lakh consumers.
The Chief Minister has also directed the Transport Department to extend the due date of all taxes under the Punjab Motor vehicle Taxation Act by one month up to April 30, 2020. Stage and contract carriage vehicles would be given a 100 percent exemption from the Motor Vehicle Tax for as long as they are not allowed to ply. Additionally, no penalty would be charged for any delay w.r.t vehicles, which will be due for renewal/passing from March 15 to April 15, 2020.
Helping out the farmers of Punjab in this time of crisis, the Cooperation Department has decided to waive off penal interest on their crops for two months (March-April 2020), obtained from Central Coop Banks & Primary Agriculture Co-op Societies. Following this decision, these farmers can now repay their crop loans until April 30, 2020.
To further lessen the difficulties of underprivileged sections of the society, the Chief Minister has also ordered the social security department to release pensions amounting to Rs.150 crore for the month of March 2020 immediately. Notably, the Punjab government has already released social security pensions to the individual accounts of all beneficiaries up to the month of February 2020, for which a sum of Rs. 296 crore was released on March 21.
Capt. Amarinder Singh had earlier directed the Labour Department to provide financial assistance of Rs.3000/- to 3,18,000 to registered construction workers through DBT in their bank accounts, costing an expenditure of approx Rs. 96 Crore.
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