Chandigarh, May 15 (PTI) Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala on Friday said he favours an extension of the coronavirus-triggered lockdown but with more leniency and states to be given liberty to decide what activities should be allowed for a gradual return to normalcy.
When asked if he was in favour of extending the lockdown in Haryana, Chautala said the measure has to remain in place while citing the recent spike in number of COVID-19 cases in the state.
“Yes, there should be lockdown, but there should be leniency on day-to-day life (activities),” he told reporters at his residence in the evening.
He also said shutting down schools and colleges for an indefinite period will also cause harm to the education infrastructure.
With some offices in the state reopening with 50 per cent staff strength or even less, Chautala said the sooner offices are brought back to normal functioning, the better it will be as common people are facing lot of inconvenience.
However, the Deputy Chief Minister, who holds 11 portfolios including Excise, Industry and Commerce, made it clear that strict measures will have to continue in containment and red zones.
“But in orange and green zones, states should have their own liberty on what to allow according to what regulation so that life comes back to normalcy,” he said.
He said that many experts have now come to the conclusion that that we all will have to live with the pandemic, at least for some time in the near future.
Replying to a question, he said that the Haryana government has shared its feedback with the Centre on Friday regarding easing of lockdown guidelines.
He said economic and other activities were gradually restarting in the state with 29.75 lakh workers having joined in units which commenced operations.
The Deputy CM was also asked to comment on the arrest of former Haryana MLA Satvinder Rana on Thursday for his alleged role in theft of liquor from a sealed godown in Samalkha in Panipat district.
Rana had unsuccessfully contested the 2019 assembly polls as a JJP candidate.
Chautala said that the godown, in which Rana had partnership, was sealed by the Excise department in 2016, after a herbal liquor product was found there for which it did not have permit for such a label.
Rana himself had got the theft report registered in March this year, however, his name figured after the arrest of one person, Chautala said, adding that the former had not been named in the FIR.
Hitting out at opponents, Chautala said, “The way one person (Rana) and an outfit (JJP) is being tarnished...he (Rana) is not an accused. Let me clarify, he is not named in the FIR. He was taken for investigation and has been sent on two days police remand. Any person is innocent until proven guilty, this is what our Constitution says.” “Let us see what the court says when he is produced before it at the end of his remand,” he said when asked if the party will take any action against Rana.
Without naming Congress leader B S Hooda and his (Dushyant's) uncle and INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala, who have raked up the liquor scam issue in the state, the JJP leader said, “How many FIRs are registered against present and former Leaders of Opposition…?” “In the entire episode (Rana's arrest and liquor scam issue in the state), when my outfit or my name comes, everyone (opponents) jumps in and they try to corner,” he said.
On farmers' issue, he said the state is hoping that wheat procurement will be over within 3-4 days going by the present trend.
With arrivals slowing down, procurement centres have been halved from 1,800 earlier.
As much as 63.86 lakh metric tonne wheat has been procured, out of which 44.17 lakh MT reached the godowns, whose crop value is Rs 7,342.50 crore. Out of this, payment of Rs 5,249.60 crore has been cleared while another Rs 2,200 crore would be cleared on Saturday, he said.
On being questioned about migrant workers, Chautala said that despite best arrangements made by the state for them in relief shelters and with many having no problem of food and jobs, many yearn to go back to their homes because of the present pandemic situation. PTI SUN VSD HDA