Punjab CM assures support to industrialists amid pandemic

Chandigarh, April 8 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday announced that a task force would soon be set up to find ways for the state to gradually get out of the unprecedented lockdown that is in place to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Addressing a video conference with the state’s leading industrialists, the Chief Minister assured the industry of all support by the government to address critical issues and challenges in these difficult times.
While seeking the industry’s suggestions on the way forward, Amarinder Singh invited them to be part of the government’s decision-making process in the extraordinary situation that is prevailing in the country and the state.
Among the various issues raised by industry leaders was the demand for declaring tractors and ancillary industries as essential and allowing them to reopen to meet the urgent needs of farmers in the Rabi harvesting and marketing season.
The demand for declaring cycles as essential commodity was also raised.
Another suggestion that came up was to allow the packaging industry to resume operations, given its importance in ensuring streamlined operations of essential commodities.
Other suggestions from the industry included revival of air cargo services to Chandigarh and incentives to health and medical startups in the state.
A suggestion for relief to the tourism industry that had been badly hit by the lockdown was also discussed, a government spokesperson told IANS.
A major issue discussed at the meeting was related to the problems faced by the pharmaceutical companies, which are playing a pivotal role in tackling the Covid-19 crisis.
Among these problems was closure of inter-state transport in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as certain restrictions on movement of goods and labour from Haryana.
Cash flow problems were also highlighted by the industry, which wanted clarity on the payments to be made to the workers during this critical period.
The Chief Minister asked the state’s Industry Department to take urgent notice of these issues and resolve them at the earliest, keeping in mind the guidelines in place for certain industries to operate amid the nationwide lockdown.
If anyone wants to operate, they should approach the state government and all efforts would be made to address their requests within the framework of the guidelines, he added.
Even as he thanked the industry for their unstinted support to the state in this hour of crisis, the Chief Minister said the battle ahead was a prolonged one, with far-reaching global implications for the economy and the industry.
Everyone is suffering because of the closures, which India clamped early to check the spread of the pandemic, the Chief Minister said, adding that perhaps the early steps taken have helped.
At the moment, things are under control in Punjab, the Chief Minister added.
The prominent industrialists who attended the conference included Sachit Jain, Rajinder Gupta (Trident), A.S. Mittal (Sonalika), Upkar Ahuja, Harish Chavan (Mahindra), Karan Gilhotra, Sachid Madan ( ITC), Rahul Ahuja (CII), Pankaj Munjal (Hero Cycles), Gautam Kapoor, Rupinder Sachdeva, S.P. Oswal, Kamal Oswal and Dinesh Dua.
–IANS
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