Rejecting media reports to the contrary, Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Amarinder Singh on Wednesday made it clear that no decision had yet been taken on extending the curfew in the state beyond 14 April.
Terming such reports as purely speculative and unfounded, the CM stated that the state government was yet to take a decision in the matter. A decision in this regard would be taken after the cabinet meeting scheduled for 10 April, he added.
The CM clarified that the speculation on curfew extension had been triggered by an advisory to employees from the general administration department on a series of matters relating to the current situation.
The said advisory had subsequently been withdrawn by the chief secretary on his directives, Amarinder added.
The state government was continuously assessing and reviewing the evolving situation, which was changing day to day, and any decision would be taken in the context of the conditions prevailing around mid-April, keeping in mind the overall interest of the state and its people, said Amarinder.
Though pandemic was currently in control in Punjab, nothing could be predicted at the moment, given the ever-changing dynamics of the situation, said the Chief Minister, adding that all the factors would be taken into account before coming to a final decision on extending or lifting the curfew, either fully or partially.
“We are keeping a close arch on the situation, not just in Punjab but across the country. We are also taking into account the way the pandemic is behaving in other countries so that we can imbue their learnings and act accordingly,” the CM said.
The early clampdown in India had helped and while the situation was somewhat better than the more advanced nations, one could not get complacent, and the next few days would be critical to any decision on the way forward, he added.
He reiterated that saving lives was the top priority of his government at the moment and whatever decision is taken will be centered around that, seeing how the pandemic shapes up in the state in the coming days.
Meanwhile, the CM 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.
Addressing a Video Conference of the state’s leading industrialists, the CM said the battle ahead was a prolonged one, with far-reaching global implications for the economy and the industry.