Punjab CM urges farmers to not hold dharna, says it may turn into COVID super-spreader

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Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh (File Photo/ANI)
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh (File Photo/ANI)

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], May 23 (ANI): Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday urged the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) not to go ahead with their proposed dharna, fearing that it could turn into a COVID-19 super-spreader.

As per a statement, the Chief Minister said his government had fought hard to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and any event, such as the proposed 3-day dharna of the BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) in Patiala, had the potential to negate the gains made by his government in tackling COVID in the state.

Urging farmers' group not to act irresponsibly and jeopardise the lives of their own people with such reckless behaviour amid the pandemic, he said: "Such a dharna would draw people mainly from the villages, which were, in any case, going through a crisis during the second wave of the pandemic."

He also said that the group's actions were completely unwarranted, considering the "total support the state government had extended all these months to the agitating farmers on the issue of the Centre's black Farm Laws."

"It is time for the farmers now to reciprocate by supporting the state government in the fight against the pandemic," he said, adding that just as the farmers' interests were linked with that of Punjab, so was Punjab's interest dependent on the farmers' support to his government in the battle against the pandemic.

Asserting that state had been one of the best-performing so far as the management of the pandemic was concerned as there were no widespread shortages of Oxygen in hospitals despite shortfall in supply, the Chief Minister said: "The only serious problem being faced by Punjab was the shortage of vaccines, which was not due to any mismanagement of the state government but that of the Centre."

He further pointed out that as a result of the concerted efforts of the government, the medical fraternity, the police, the civil administration and the village panchayats (who had been conducting Thikri Pehras), Punjab had successfully brought the number of cases to 5,421, with 201 deaths, on May 22, from a high of nearly 10,000 just about two weeks ago.

"But given the gravity of the situation, there was no scope for any laxity in Covid appropriate behaviour, and rallies or dharnas of any kind were totally unacceptable when the lives of the people were at stake," the Chief Minister asserted. (ANI)