CAPT AMARINDER OFFERS HELP TO DELHI TO MANAGE ITS SPIRALLING COVID CRISIS, STRESSES NEED TO PREPARE FOR 2ND WAVE IN PUNJAB

· LAUNCHES 107 NEW HEALTH & WELLNESS CENTRES TO BOOTH PUNJAB’S HEALTH INFRASTRUCTURE

· URGES PEOPLE TO BE ACTIVE PARTNERS IN COVID FIGHT, DECLARES ‘MASK HI VACCINE HAI’ AS MISSION FATEH MANTRA

Chandigarh, November 21: Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday offered all possible help to Delhi in managing its spiralling Covid cases, even as he lauded the ‘unsung heroes’ of Punjab for their excellent work in handling the pandemic in the state, while assuring of full preparedness by his government to augment healthcare facilities to prepare for a possible second wave of the pandemic.

“Delhi is fighting a tough battle, and we are there to help if needed. I have said that earlier also,” the Chief Minister said, while assuring all possible measures by his government to prepare for the second wave in Punjab.

While nobody knew when the second wave would strike Punjab, experience of the NCR and other states/regions showed it was an almost certain eventuality, he warned, expressing the confidence that the Health Department and OTS employees will once again rise to the occasion to meet any challenge.

While it was the duty of the state government to support the healthcare and other frontline workers, many of whom had got infected and some had even lost their lives to Covid, the Chief Minister said it was also the responsibility of the people to actively partner the state in the fight against the pandemic by strictly following all safety norms. He declared ‘MASK HI VACCINE HAI’ as the resolve of Mission Fateh for the next few months, till a vaccine against Covid finally comes.

Digitally launching 107 Health & Wellness Centres (Tandarust Punjab Sehat Kendras) to boost healthcare infrastructure in the state, and provide health services to patients at their doorsteps in both rural and urban areas, the Chief Minister lauded the efforts of the Health and Medical Education departments which had made these centres a success story in just three years.

Exhorting the people to join his government in making Punjab the No. 1 state in Healthcare, the Chief Minister said his government was focused on strengthening healthcare facilities, especially levels 2 & 3, with the aim of saving lives through early testing and treatment. Urging the people to avoid crowded places and indoors, and not have large gatherings and social functions, he stressed the need to observe full precautions, especially washing hands and wearing masks.

Listing the various measures taken by his government to manage the pandemic, he said besides record increase in testing facilities and health care for COVID patients in L-2 and L-3 health facilities, Plasma Banks had been opened and free Mission Fateh Corona Kits provided to patients undergoing home isolation.

During Covid-19 Pandemic, PPE Kits, N-95 masks & other logistics worth Rs. 184.95 Crore were supplied to all the frontline health workers, while medicines worth Rs. 5.57 crore were provided to all the patients at L1, L2 & L3 faculties for Covid patients, the Chief Minister pointed out. All the Level 3 facilities were provided with Ventilator support & oxygen cylinders were provided at all Covid care facilities, he said, adding that R-PCR, Rapid Antigen & TruNat Tests had been made available for all suspected corona patients.

The Chief Minister said the new Health & Wellness Centers would take Punjab’s health infrastructure to a new level of efficacy amid the Covid pandemic. These centers would go a long way in helping the state government to expand its healthcare outreach to a larger community of people across the state. Of the 3049 centres planned in the state, 2046 were now operational and 800 more would become operational in the next two months, with the remaining to be opened in 2021, he said.

Manned by Community Health Officers, Multipurpose Health Workers (Male and Female) and ASHA Workers, these centres have been provided with facility of 27 medicines, 6 diagnostic tests and Tele-consultation facilities, said the Chief Minister, adding that 54 lac patients have been provided OPD services for Hypertension, diabetes etc.

Pointing out that Punjab ranks Number 1 in India for timely operationalisation of Health & Wellness Centres, in the ranking of states released by Government of India in the month of August, 2020, Captain Amarinder pointed out that the state had already achieved the target given by central government for year 2020-21 (142% achievement). The Chief Minister also spoke about the universal health insurance cover under the Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojna, the School Health Programme, free treatment for Hepatitis-C: 90,000 patients, financial assistance given to 25000 cancer patients and recruitment of regular and contractual doctors/specialist/paramedical staff etc, among other initiatives launched by his government over the past 3 years. Among other measures taken by the state government in this period were Mental Health and Drug De-addiction Programme, Free Drug initiative and addition of new ambulances, he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Health & Family Welfare Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said that the State Government was converting all the sub centers of the state into Health & Wellness Centers in a phased manner to provide quality healthcare services to the patients especially in villages. He said that since March 2019, nearly 55.8 lac patients have availed OPD services, and another 20 lac individuals had been screened for hypertension, 12 lac for diabetes and 17 lac for cancer (oral, breast or cervical). Apart from these, 14 lac patients have been given medicines and various diagnostic tests done on 18 lac patients, he added.

Health Secretary Hussan Lal said the launch of the new centres marked a historic day for the department.

Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan congratulated the health and medical education staff for their hard work in keeping Covid in control in Punjab, which had good recovery rate. However, she warned against complacency in view of the high mortality rate, which was attributable mainly to co-morbidities.

During the digital launch event, several health workers shared their experiences in managing the Covid fight and treating Covid patients. Kamaljit Kaur, a nurse in Jalandhar, said the state government had not only ensured all safety measures for the health staff but had also provided proper training. Dr Upender Bakshi, Lab in-charge at Govt. Medical College Patiala, narrated how the lab was made state-of-the-art within a short time to provide Covid testing for 12 districts.

Several frontline Corona warriors including doctors from the health department and Research and medical education department besides paramedics including nurses and health workers from across the state interacted with the Chief Minister to share their experiences to deal with the patients inflicted with Covid and suggested vital inputs to further improve the health delivery system especially in these trying circumstances of Covid pandemic.

Others who spoke on the occasion including Punjab Youth Congress President, Brinder Dhillon.
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CBI BEING EXPLOITED FOR POLITICS, WON’T ALLOW IT TO ENTER PUNJAB WITHOUT PERMISSION, SAYS CAPT AMARINDER

· SAYS BJP WELCOME TO CONTEST ALL SEATS TO PUNJAB ASSEMBLY BUT CAN’T WIN EVEN 1 WITHOUT ALLIANCE

Chandigarh, November 21: Citing the agency’s poor track record in the Bargari case, which it had closed without any investigation, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday said his government will not allow the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into his state without permission.

Pointing out that eight states, including Punjab, had withdrawn permission to the agency to enter without prior permission, the Chief Minister said the agency was being increasingly used to play politics, and a fair probe could not be ensured through CBI.

Dismissing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as a non-entity in Punjab’s political arena, the Chief Minister told a TV channel that the BJP was welcome to contest all 117 Vidhan Sabha seats in the state though the party would not be able to win a single seat without an alliance partner. The Congress had, in fact, no challenge in Punjab, with even the Akalis and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) posing no threat, he said, adding that neither of these parties had ever talked about anything positive in the interest of the state.

With elections in the state still around 18 months away, it was not possible to say which issue will dominate the polls, said Captain Amarinder, while expressing the hope that the BJP will resolve the farmers’ grievances soon. Farmers want MSP to remain and the Government of India should take steps to ensure that, he said, lamenting the adamant stand being taken by both the Centre and the farmers, leading to the prolonged agitation which was affecting supplies to the frontline soldiers while damaging Punjab’s interests. He, however, said agitation was the democratic and constitutional right of farmers, which the central government had evidently realised, as apparent from their decision to call Kisan Unions for talks.

The Chief Minister reiterated that corporates were welcome to buy foodgrains in Punjab as long as they follow the existing marketing system, built on close ties between farmers and Arhtiyas. He rejected the BJP charge of the Congress and other central Opposition parties were misguiding the farmers, pointing out that the entire Vidhan Sabha in Punjab had unanimously rejected the Farm Laws, though some parties had subsequently made a U-turn due to political compulsions. When the Bills were brought in Parliament, the central government should have consulted all stakeholders, including Punjab government, instead of passing them without discussion, said Captain Amarinder.

Terming the dissent in Congress a sign of internal democracy in the party, the Chief Minister pointed out that those who had written a letter to the party high command had been included in key committees constituted by party chief Sonia Gandhi.

On the issue of SGPC elections, the Chief Minister said he had been demanding those for long but the Akalis did not want polls to the body, which they had been using for their own political gains.

Welcoming the ongoing joint Indian naval exercises with other countries, Captain Amarinder said China and Pakistan will not succeed in their nefarious designs against India. Punjab wants peace and development and will not allow Pakistan to foment trouble at any cost, he added.

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PUNJAB FARMERS ACCEPT CAPT AMARINDER’S REQUEST, ANNOUNCE TOTAL LIFTING OF RAIL BLOCKADE FROM MONDAY

· CM URGES CENTRE NOW TO RESTORE ALL TRAIN SERVICES IN STATE & ADDRESS FARMERS’ CONCERNS ON FARM LAWS

Chandigarh, November 21: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday succeeded in breaking the imbroglio over the suspension of train services in the state, with the Kisan Unions acceding to his appeal and announcing complete lifting of the rail blockade from Monday, 23rd November, to pave the way for resumption of both goods and passenger train services in the state after two months.

Soon after the announcement, the Chief Minister urged the central government to reciprocate by restoring all train services in the state, and also to hold further talks with the farmer representatives to resolve the crisis over the Farm Laws.

The decision to lift the rail blockade was announced by Bharti Kissan Union (Rajewal) President Balbir Singh Rajewal at a meeting of representatives of the Kisan Unions with the Chief Minister here to resolve the imbroglio over the rail blockade imposed by the farmers in protest against the Centre’s Farm Laws. Rajewal, however, warned of resumption of blockade if the central government fails to hold talks with the farmers’ representatives in the next 15 days to address their concerns on the Farm Laws. The farmer leaders urged all political parties in Punjab to get together to support them in their fight against the central agricultural legislations instead of politicizing the issue, which was of grave concern to the state.

Thanking the Kisan Unions for accepting his request, the Chief Minister assured the farmer leaders that he would meet the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister soon to press for their demands. “Let us together put pressure on the Center to see our point of view and understand how these (central farm) laws would ruin Punjab,” he said, asserting that he was with the farmers in their fight. “We all have farmer blood in our veins,” he quipped.

Captain Amarinder also promised the farmer representatives that he will look into their other demands, including those relating to sugarcane price hike and clearance of dues, as well as withdrawal of FIRs registered in stubble burning cases. He said he would hold talks with them on these issues within the next one week, and will also set up a committee of officers to discuss the matter.

Welcoming the farmer organisations’ decision to lift their rail blockade, PPCC president Sunil Jakhar exhorted all parties to work together in the interest of the farmers and the state. “We will not allow Punjab to burn, we will not allow the BJP to divide us on rural-urban or religious lines,” he declared.

In his appeal earlier, the Chief Minister said his government would not interfere in their peaceful agitation, which was their democratic right and which had forced the Centre to rethink on its stand on the Farm Laws. Terming the fight against the central legislations a partnership between the state government and the farmers, he said “we have to protect Punjab’s interests together.”

However, he pointed out that if the rail services are not restored the state will continue to face immense problems and it was in the interest of Punjab that the trains should start operating at the earliest. His heart was full of concern for the state, which included industry, said the Chief Minister, urging the Kisan Unions to let the train services resume as the blockade had caused Rs 40000 crore in losses to the state so far. Pointing to shortage of coal, fertilizer, urea, among other essential commodities, he said a large number of units had closed down in Ludhiana and Jalandhar due to scarcity of raw material, resulting in 6 lakh migrant labourers going back to their natives places.

Captain Amarinder said the Centre’s decision to engage with the farm unions indicated that they were now realizing the grave repercussions of their hastily passed Farm Laws, particularly in the context of the omnipresent Pak threat to disturb India’s, especially Punjab’s peace. Islamabad is sending guns, drugs, fake currency etc through drones, and a large number of arms and ammunition had been seized along the Punjab border, he said, adding that it was the responsibility of every Punjabi to ensure peace.

Pointing out that elimination of the MSP system would wreak havoc on the farmers and the whole of Punjab, the Chief Minister said those sitting in Delhi clearly do not know the implications of the Farm Laws. Noting that farmers could not go to corporates for their emergent needs, he stressed the importance of maintaining the decades-old agricultural marketing system that was founded on the close relationship between the farmers and Arhityas. Further, he asked how the state would survive and build its rural infrastructure of it stops getting Mandi Board Fees, as envisaged by the Centre.

Vowing to protect the interests of farmers at all costs, Captain Amarinder pointed out out that the Bills brought in by his government were aimed at constitutionally negating the damaging impact of the central farm laws. He asserted his government’s total commitment to safeguarding their interests.

At the start of the meeting, the Chief Minister’s Political Advisor Capt. Sandeep Sandhu appreciated the farmers for acting responsibly to ensure a peaceful agitation, with no law and order problem, for the past two months. He made a presentation at the start of the meeting to highlight the dangers of the central Farm Laws and explain the provisions of the Bills passed by the state to protect the interests of the farmers.

The representatives of various farmers' organizations who attended the meeting included: State President, Krantikari Kissan Union Dr Darshanpal: General Secretary, Jamhoori Kissan Sabha Kulwant Singh Sandhu; General Secretary, Bharti Kissan Union Ekta (Dakaunda) Jagmohan Singh Patiala; General Secretary, Kul Hind Sabha Baldev Singh Nihalgarh; President, Kirti Kissan Union Nirbhai Singh Dhudike; President, Punjab Kissan Union Ruldu Singh Mansa; General Secretary, Kul Hind Kissan Sabha Major Singh Punnawal; President, Kissan Sangarsh Committee Inderjeet Singh Kot Budha; State President, Aazad Kissan Sangarsh Committee Harjinder Singh Tanda; Gurbakhash Singh Barnala of Jai Kissan Andolan; President, Kissan Sangharash Committee Kanwalpreet Singh Pannu; President, Bharti Kissan Union Krantikari Surjeet Singh Phul; President, Bharti Kissan Union (Sidhupur) Jagjit Sisngh Dallewal; President, Bharti Kissan Union (Qadian) Harmeet Singh; President, Bharti Kissan Union (Rajewal) Balbir Singh Rajewal; Parminder Singh Palmajra of Bharti Kissan Union Lakhowal; General Secretary, Bharti Kissan Union (Doaba) Satnam Singh Sahni; President, Bharti Kissan Union Bogh Singh Mansa; Balwinder Singh Aulakh of Majha Kissan Committee; President, Indian Farmers Association Satnam Singh Behru; President, Bharti Kissan Manch Boota Singh Shadipur; Baldev Singh Sirsa of Lok Bhalai Insaf Welfare Society; Jangbir Singh Tanda of Doaba Kissan Committee, Mukesh Chander of Doaba Kissan Sangharsh Committee; President, Ganna Sangarsh Committee Dasuya Sukhpal Singh Daffar; President, Aazad Kissan Committee (Doaba) Harpal Sangha; Balwant Singh Bramke of Bharti Kissan Union (Mann); President, Kissan Bachao Morcha Kirpa Singh Nathuwala; President, Kul Hind Kissan Federation Prem Singh Bhangu; Kiranjeet Sekhon of Kul Hind Kissan Federation; State President, Bharti Kissan Union (Ugrahan) Joginder Singh Ugrahan; and State General Secretary, Kissan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (Piddi Group) Sarwan Singh Pandher.
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Special drive for summary revision of the electoral roll gets underway in Punjab

Chandigarh, November 21:The draft publication of the photo electoral roll in connection with the Special Summary Revision with reference to January 1, 2021 as the qualifying date was published on November 16, 2020 in all assembly constituencies of the State of Punjab by their respective Electoral Registration Officers (EROs). The process of filing claims and objections has begun from November 16 and it will continue up to December 15.

According to the draft electoral roll, there are a total 20680347 electors in the electoral roll and out of which, 10898294 are males and 9781488 females and 565 are third gender. The gender ratio of the State as per the census -2011 is 908 whereas the roll shows a gender ratio of 896. There are 1656 NRIs enrolled as voters in the electoral roll.

Copies of the draft electoral roll are going to be available for inspection with the Booth Level Officers (BLOs) and the Electoral Registration Officers (EROs). One can also log in to the CEO, Punjab’s website http://ceopunjab.nic.in/ to inspect the electoral roll.

The CEO, Punjab is holding special camps at all the polling stations across the state and BLOs shall be present there. CEO Punjab has directed District Election Officers (DEOs) and Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) to gear up field functionaries and have adequate voter coverage for a successful Special Summary Revision-2021.

First camp was held today and it was a huge success with people in large numbers turning up to their respective booths with their documents for enrolment or correction in the voter card. The special camps are also going to be held on November 22 (Saturday), December 5 (Saturday) and 6 (Sunday).

The applications for inclusion, objections to inclusion, and corrections in entries can be filed online through voterportal.eci.gov.in. This service is fully free of cost. The electors can also obtain forms and submit filled in forms at the respective polling stations, office of The Electoral Registration Officers / Asst. Electoral Registration Officers from November 16 to December 15 and also on the aforementioned special campaign days.

All eligible Indian citizens who will be attaining the age of 18 years on January 1, 2021 as the qualifying date, may apply for registration as voters. They are required to produce valid address proof and a valid document proving date of birth along with two colour photographs.

The disposal of claims and objections will be undertaken by January 5, 2021 checking of health parameters and obtaining Commission's permission for final publication by January 14 and updating database and printing of supplements and final publication of electoral roll on January 15, 2021.