Concealing travel history in Punjab can lead to impounding of passport

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Chandigarh, April 4 (IANS) Acting tough against the foreign travellers amid the COVID-19 crisis, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday warned of strict action, including impounding passports, of those who fail to declare their travel history.

At the first Cabinet meeting, which met through video conference, to review the current situation, the Chief Minister said there could be no compromise on this count and anyone found hiding their travel history from police and Health Department personnel would be dealt with strictly.
“We will take away their passports too,” he warned.
o further strengthen the state government’s battle against the unprecedented crisis triggered by the global pandemic, Amarinder Singh also authorized extension for all retiring Health Department employees by three months, as proposed by Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh.
This was decided as the death toll due to coronavirus went up to five, with 57 positive cases being reported in Punjab.
The Cabinet also announced a special health insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh each for the police personnel and sanitation workers in the frontline of the battle against COVID-19, on the lines of that announced for health workers by the Centre.
The Chief Minister also authorized the procurement committed headed by Additional Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan to do quick price discovery for all purchases related to COVID-19 management and containment, and make purchases on an urgent basis.
The committee has been authorized to make spot purchases and exigency procurements, bypassing normal procedures, in exercise of emergency powers under the National Disaster Management Act of 2005, a government spokesperson told IANS.
The Chief Minister directed that no bureaucratic hassles be allowed to come in the way of any urgent purchases that may be needed in this critical hour.
Taking serious note of shutdown of operations by several private hospitals, the Cabinet decided on strict action against such hospitals, with the Chief Minister suggesting the Health Department should cancel the licences of hospitals refusing to treat COVID-19 patients.
Terming it a cowardly act, the Chief Minister said they cannot go into hiding at such a critical time.
Underlining the need for generating resources to deal with the medical emergency, the Chief Minister ordered expenditure cuts by all government departments to meet urgent expenses needed to deal with the crisis.
The Chief Minister directed Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta to finalise a comprehensive security plan to ensure smooth procurement of the wheat grain, while directing purchase centres to notify details of procurement arrangements by April 7-8.
Reviewing the state’s preparedness, the Chief Minister stressed that the procurement arrangements should be put in place in a manner that every grain of the farmers is procured though in a staggered manner.
Given the need to prevent overcrowding, the state government is working with aarhtiyas’ and asheller’ owners to add 3,000 purchase centres this year, with coupons to be issued to the farmers and others involved in the process.
A total of 1,820 purchase centres will be available for procurement, said the spokesperson.