Punjab CM Amarinder Singh’s plain speak to PM Modi on COVID-19 fight: ‘Let chief ministers do their job’

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Updated: May 6, 2020 5:44:39 PM

Punjab lockdown latest news: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has urged the Centre not to limit the role of states in taking decisions on the lockdown as they know what’s best for their states.

punjab covid 19 casesPunjab CM Amarinder Singh has expressed concerns over restrictions being imposed on states in taking decisions. File pic IE

A day after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that the states should be given leeway to take decisions on the lockdown, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh too voiced concerns over restrictions being imposed on the states in taking decisions. Suggesting that the PM’s nationwide approach was not working, the Punjab CM urged the Centre not to limit the role of states in taking decisions on the lockdown as they know what’s best for their states.

In an interview with The Tribune, Singh accused Delhi of not providing financial aid to the states even to pay the rail fare for migrants. States, he said, are losing a lot of money. The CM said the government was expecting Rs 3,300 crore revenue collection last month but got only Rs 400 crore. Singh said that instead of taking decisions for them, Prime Minister Narendra Modi should ask the states what they require to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think Modi should have said, ‘CMs, you handle your states and tell me what I can do for you.’ We are not getting anything from the Centre, not even to fight Covid-19,” he said.

“There is no GST, no money coming in from the Centre, nothing from our own resources because our industry is not working. We are losing Rs 30 crore a day on revenue from electricity because we are not consuming it. We are not getting anything from the Centre, not even to fight this menace,” Singh added.

CM Amarinder Singh also backed Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s decision to offer to pay the train fare for migrant workers. He said that the government should have started trains earlier to ferry the migrants and added that it was not right to ask workers to buy their tickets. Singh said that the state government will pay for all the 9 lakh migrants who want to go back to their native states. He said Rs 35 crore has been sanctioned for the purpose.

“They worked for Punjab for many years. This is the least we can do. When they do not have money to feed themselves, how can we ask them to buy their tickets?” he asked.

According to Singh’s claim, the state us testing around 2,800 samples daily and has made quarantine mandatory for those entering the state. Punjab has registered 25 COVID-19 deaths and 1,451 people have been infected by the deadly virus.

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