BH CORRESPONDENT, Chandigarh: On one hand, in states like Punjab, the ongoing harvest season and procurement of food grains are some of the issues that the local administration has to sort out. On the other side it has to ensure that coronavirus is contained as much as possible. On Friday the Punjab cabinet unanimously decided to extend the coronavirus lockdown in the state till April 30. Punjab becomes the second state after Odisha to extend the lockdown.
On Friday, chief minister Amarinder Singh, addressed a press conference through video-conferencing, said he felt the lockdown and curfew should continue in view of the increased number of positive coronavirus cases in the state.
Officials in the state are also looking at the issue of farming community as the harvest season nears.
“Harvesting is very important, as is procurement as there are standing crops and they need to be taken care of. Mandis etc do not lend themselves to social distancing,” said a government source.
Singh said each district with groups of farmers would be given specific dates for bringing their crops to the mandis for procurement and the number of mandis would be increased from 1,900 to over 3,000 to make the operations smaller, leading to fewer crowds.
Punjab was one of the first states to impose a state-wide lockdown and stop public transport. No new coronavirus cases were reported as on Friday in Punjab, according to data released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. This brings the total reported cases of coronavirus in Punjab to 101. Among the total people infected as on date, 4 have recovered and 8 have died. All India, Punjab ranks number 15 with 101 cases of coronavirus cases.