Punjab has sought community participation in identification of the NRIs who have not been tracked so far. (File)
With Union government writing to all states to step up tracking and isolation of all NRIs and residents returning from foreign countries in view of the COVID-19 outbreak, Punjab has sought community participation in identification of the NRIs who have not been tracked so far. Punjab has 1330 NRIs who are yet to be traced, an internal CMO list accessed by The Indian Express revealed.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday asked the Rural Development and Panchayats Department to involve village Sarpanches in reporting to the authorities about any failing on this front.
In a letter to Punjab Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh on March 26, a copy of which is with the Indian Express, Union Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba stated that there appears to be a gap between the number of international passengers who need to be monitored by the states and UTs and the actual number being monitored by the states.
“This may seriously jeopardise our efforts to contain the COVID-19, given that many among the persons who have tested positive for corona so far in India have a history of international travel. It is important that they are under close surveillance to prevent the spread of the epidemic. I understand that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has repeatedly emphasised this and requested the states and UTs to take immediate steps,” Gauba stated in his letter.
Out of the 1330 NRIs that are yet to be traced, maximum are from Hoshiarpur (363), followed by Jalandhar (Rural) at 204. As many as 172 are from Ludhiana (Rural), 128 from Mohali, 118 from Gurdaspur, and 84 each from Batala and Amritsar (Rural). Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu has been stating that most were tracked but a few of them had not given correct address to the airport authorities in Delhi and they could not be contacted. He has been saying there is a possibility that they had returned back to the countries from where they came.