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COVID-19: Punjab announces relief measures amid lockdown, sanctions Rs 20 cr from CM fund

ANI  |  General News 

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday announced Rs 20 crore sanctioned out of the Chief Minister's relief fund amid a state-wide curfew in order to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Singh on Monday ordered the state-wide curfew clampdown, making Punjab the first state in the country to resort to this measure in the battle against COVID-19, as per a statement.

The Chief Minister, after reviewing the situation with Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh and DGP Dinkar Gupta, announced "full curfew with no relaxations."

"The DCs have been asked to issue orders accordingly. Any person required to be given relaxation will be so allowed specifically for a given period and purpose," the Chief Minister tweeted.

The orders came as Singh announced a slew of relief measures to support the affected masses as a result of the restrictions imposed in the light of the growing coronavirus threat.

"These included free food, shelter and medicines for those in need, with Rs 20 Cr sanctioned out of the CM's relief fund for the same and DCs & SDMs asked to extend all assistance to those in need," the statement said.

The Chief Minister has also announced deferment of payment of electricity, sewerage and water bills in the state.

Giving details of the relief measures announced by the state government, Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh said that the Chief Minister has directed the local government department to defer the due date of making payment of water and sewerage bills by one month in all Municipal Corporations and Councils, besides extending the amnesty scheme on property tax till May 31, 2020, as per the statement.

The state government had earlier initiated legal action against violators of home quarantine. "All measures being taken are for the larger good of everyone. While I am happy that everyone is cooperating, I will not let a few threaten the safety measures being taken against #Covid," the Chief Minister earlier tweeted.

Likewise, 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 has been extended up to April 15.

The Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has been asked not to recover the late payment surcharge from these nearly 35 lakh consumers who would benefit from the move.

"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," the statement said.

Stage and contract carriage vehicles would be given a 100 per cent exemption from the Motor Vehicle Tax for the period in which these are not allowed to ply. Apart from these, no penalty would be charged for any delay with respect to vehicles, which become due for renewal or passing from March 15 to April 15.

"The Cooperation Department has decided to waive off, for two months (March-April 2020), penal interest on their crop, which is obtained by them from Central Coop Banks and Primary Agriculture Co-op Societies. Consequent upon this decision, these farmers can now repay their crop loans till April 30, 2020," it said.

It may be recalled that on the directions of Chief Minister, the Labour Department has already decided to provide financial assistance of Rs 3000 to 3,18,000 registered construction workers through DBT in their bank accounts, involving approximately an expenditure of Rs 96 crore.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, March 23 2020. 18:22 IST