Ferozepur, May 20 (PTI) SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday sought an immediate waiver of electricity bills for both domestic and industrial consumers for a period of six months in Punjab to help business, poor and middle class people to tide over the economic crisis caused by restrictions imposed in the wake of COVID-19.
The Shiromani Akali Dal president also demanded financial assistance for families affected by coronavirus.
Badal was in Ferozepur to inaugurate a 25-bedded COVID care centre at Gurdwara Jaamniwala in Bazidpur. All beds are equipped with oxygen concentrators, a party statement said.
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president Bibi Jagir Kaur said this was the fourth COVID centre started by the SGPC to provide free treatment to coronavirus positive patients.
Badal said besides doing away with power bills for a six-month period, the government should also give relief from water bills and other taxes to people.
“It is unfortunate that CM Amarinder (Singh) is sitting in his farm house and announcing various versions of the 'Mission Fateh' programme which has been purely turned into a public relations exercise instead of improving the situation on the ground,” Badal said.
He expressed concern over the rising fatalities due to COVID-19 in the state.
“Even in the health minister's constituency Mohali, social organisations and NGOs are reaching out to the people instead of the government. The chief minister needs to descend in the field and take review meetings everyday to reduce the 2.4 per cent mortality rate of Punjab which is double than the national average as well as that of neighbouring state of Haryana,” the SAD president said.
Badal said the situation could turn explosive in villages in the state with a huge number of villagers being confirmed COVID-19 positive in the Malwa region, which is also in the grip of the black fungus disease.
He said there was a “severe shortage” of medicines as well as little awareness on how to tackle black fungus.
“Medicines should be dispatched to villages immediately even as the government should install ventilators lying idle with it in all districts.” Badal said it is unfortunate that the Punjab government had not issued a global tender to procure vaccines for its citizens as done by other state governments like Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
He said the SGPC had earlier contacted the suppliers of the Sputnik V vaccine and has now even contacted Bharat Biotech for Covaxin.
“The chief minister should also talk to the vaccine manufacturers immediately and secure additional vaccine doses for Punjab,” he said. PTI CHS VSD AQS AQS