To join field duty in the battle against Coronavirus outbreak, Punjab Police has withdrawn 1300 cops from VVIP duty, including a significant number from Chief Minister’s security.

An official spokesperson said the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had earlier authorized Director General of Police (DGP) Dinkar Gupta to pull out any number of police personnel from his (CM’s) personal security, or that of other VIP protectees, for deployment for COVID-19 crisis management, as he may deem fit.

The spokesperson said the CM had directed mobilisation of maximum police force through withdrawal from security duties.

The DGP said further withdrawals would be made based on evaluation of the threat scenario, which was in progress, and through graded reduction. More security persons from district force and Armed Battalions will be withdrawn and organized into reserves, he said, adding that extensive mobilisation of the force had been planned and will be undertaken in a phased manner.

Gupta said due care was being taken to deploy the police personnel in their home districts as far as possible.

The CM, who is personally monitoring and reviewing the COVID and curfew related situation on a day-to-day basis, spoke to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and apprised him of the arrangements being made for such migrants from Bihar.

Amarinder also asked Nitish to assure the families of these migrants back in Bihar that they were being fully looked after by Punjab and Punjabis during these testing times.

Meanwhile, in its notification, the Department of Home Affairs & Justice said that as a one-time measure, taken in view of the emergent situation due to spread of COVID-19, the “uniformed personnel of Police and Punjab Home Guards working with the Government of Punjab shall continue to work irrespective of their date of retirement till 31 May.

“These orders would also apply to officers/officials whose retirement orders stand issued, said the notification, adding that “these employees would not be eligible for any promotion or additional perks during their extended period,” the spokesperson said.

The step was necessitated to cope with the emergency situation triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent lockdown, an official spokesperson said. The state government had earlier given extensions in service to retiring doctors & health staff, as well as sanitation workers.

According to DGP Dinkar Gupta, a total of 107 FIRs were registered today for violation of curfew or home quarantine restrictions and 132 persons were arrested. The police personnel on duty have strict instructions to enforce the restrictions in a sensitive manner, he said.