Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Sunday expressed concern over rise in COVID-19 cases and urged people to be more cautious during winters and festive season as there are more chances of further spread of this virus.

Addressing a public meeting in Mandi, Thakur said Mandi district was having the highest number of active cases in the state as of today and urged all to remain cautious as winter season may result in further spread of this virus.

“If required, the state government would not hesitate in taking stern steps as every life is precious and the spread of this pandemic needed to be checked,” he added.

He said that the Government of India had provided 500 ventilators, 500 oxygen concentrators to the state and as of now there was no scarcity of PPE kits, masks and sanitizers in the state.

He further stated that Coronavirus pandemic had hampered various developmental works initiated by the state government but the government was resolute to complete these projects in the near future.

“The government would ensure that all the projects see the light of the day in a new era of development and prosperity usher in the state,” he said.

The Chief Minister said keeping in view the Covid crisis, the state government had started Shahri Rozgar Yojana for providing employment to the urban people on the analogy of MNREGA and Himachal was the first state in the country to take such a step.

“The state government is determined to provide better facilities and develop the towns of the state and keeping in this view Palampur, Solan and Mandi towns have been given the status of Municipal Corporations.

The state government has to amend the Act in the Vidhan Sabha as Mandi and Palampur were not fulfilling the population criteria as per the census of 2011.

This decision would help in further development of these towns as there would be special budget provisions and they would also get various developmental projects form the Government of India as well,” he said.

He said the state government had also constituted seven new Nagar Panchayats, one Nagar Parishad and 387 new Gram Panchayats to facilitate the people of the state.

State Jal Shakti Minister Mahender Singh Thakur thanked the Chief Minister for giving the status of Municipal Corporation to Mandi and said that this would enable the people to get various facilities.

“The work on airport at Nagchala and Shiv Dham at Mandi would soon start which would give new dimension to tourism in the district.

Further, the state government is implementing the first phase of Rs 1688 crore ADB funded Shiva project in lower districts of the state by providing facilities of drip irrigation, solar panel, CA stores and marketing etc,” he added.

State BJP chief Suresh Kashyap, Mandi MLAs Anil Sharma, Vinod Kumar, Rakesh Jamwal, Prakash Rana and Jawahar Thakur, Chairman, Milkfed Nihal Chand Sharma were also present on the occasion.