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Thousands volunteer to help govt in its fight against coronavirus: Khattar

Press Trust of India  |  Chandigarh 

Thirty-three thousand people have volunteered to help the government in its fight against the spread of coronavirus in Haryana, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said on Thursday.

He said the district administration will utilise the volunteer's services as per need and all of them will be issued e-passes.

"We made an appeal that volunteers should come forward and get themselves registered with the government. In response, during the past four days, 33,000 people registered themselves as volunteers," Khattar said in a televised address to the people of the state.

"These include 546 doctors, 255 nurses, 1,108 paramedics. 4,700 volunteers have registered themselves for providing home delivery or door-to-door services, 5,700 volunteers will ensure social distancing is followed, and 6,200 will lend a helping hand to district administration," he said.

Khattar said that the power department shut down its cash counters to avoid queuing up of people to pay their bills and now consumers can pay their bills through digital mode. Those who make payment through this mode till the situation does not normalise will get a rebate of two per cent, which will be minimum rebate of Rs 20 and maximum up to to Rs 100.

In the wake of the lockdown, Khattar said that state government will be launching a website where grocery, 'kiryana' stores, chemist shops, those selling milk and other essential products can enroll so that all essential services can be provided to people to their doorsteps.

Amid reports of people not cooperating and defying lockdown orders at some places, Khattar said that according to the reports available with him a vast majority were cooperating and police was taking action against the few violators.

"If few people violate lockdown orders, our police personnel are able to persuade them and if some action is required to be taken then that is being taken (against the violators). We all will have to obey lockdown orders because it pertains to our security, our family's security, security of our state, nation and entire humankind," he said.

With some reports suggesting that people who were going out to buy essential commodities were not following social distancing at some places, Khattar assured that there was no need to panic as there was adequate stock of commodities.

"Though we may not be getting as much we need, but we have to manage. Our entire system is focused on making all essential supplies like ration, milk powder, medicines, milk and vegetables reach your doorsteps," he said.

Seeking to convey to people that they must adjust in this time of crisis, Khattar said, "Jivan jeene ke liye khana pena hai, khane pene ka liye nahin jena hai (We eat in order to live, we don't live in order to eat)."

Khattar said all health workers and frontline workers involved in combating the pandemic shall be provided accident insurance (ex-gratia).

"Government employees from various departments have gone into this battle to combat the spread of COVID-19. I recently made an announcement to give an ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh. However, we have decided to raise it now. Those working in isolation wards and testing labs, for doctors this amount will be Rs 50 lakh and Rs 30 lakh for nurses and for remaining government or contractual employees involved in such services, the ex-gratia given will be Rs 20 lakh," he said.

To mitigate the difficulties of poor sections, including daily wagers, small shopkeepers, and other weaker sections, the state government had recently announced financial aid to help them.

"We already have 12.56 lakh beneficiaries registered under Mukhya Mantri Parivar Samriddhi Yojana for the poor section. We have started giving them immediate relief of Rs 4,500 and this amount has been disbursed for 2.76 lakh families," he said.

As far as 3.85 lakh construction workers registered under Construction Workers Board are concerned, the government will give financial assistance of Rs 1,000 per week to them.

On recently set up 'Haryana COVID Relief Fund', Khattar said that after his appeal seeking voluntary donations, people have started donating generously and so far more than 2,000 people have given Rs 5.84 crore.

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

First Published: Thu, March 26 2020. 19:04 IST