Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday reiterated his party’s full support to all “constructive measures “ of the Union and Punjab governments to fight Coronavirus pandemic but expressed his “strong disapproval” of the insensitivity being shown by the Punjab government in implementing these measures.
The SAD president said that the people of Punjab were not prepared for the sudden curfew and were taken by surprise by its suddenness. “The government needed to ensure its implementation through sensitive and persuasive means rather than “use of brute force” against those violating curfew, especially against the women. It is against our culture to force women to do sit-ups that too by male cops. This is totally unacceptable,” said the former Deputy Chief Minister.
“There are so many psychological, practical and legal means available to ensure effective enforcement of the curfew regulations. There is no need to humiliate the self-respecting Punjabis who have by and large been cooperating with the government’s measures in this direction, he added.
“Any curfew of such long duration can be effective only with the people’s cooperation. The government must use the media, especially the electronic and online media, to spread awareness rather than panic and frustration among the people. We support the government’s efforts but disagree with the methods being adopted. This must change,” said Sukhbir Singh Badal.
However, the SAD president appealed to the people to fully cooperate with the administration in observing curfew regulations. “It is in our own interest to stay at home and look after the elders and children during this challenging period,” added Badal.
Badal also said that his inputs revealed that there was only limited truth in the government’s claims of maintaining a supply of essential commodities. He appealed to the government to operationalise all channels to ensure that people do not suffer on this account. “Punjabis will fully cooperate with the government decision but the government must know how to elicit this willing cooperation,” Badal said.
The SAD president further said that the poor and especially the daily wage earners are facing extreme hardships. “The Government must take immediate steps to help the poor and the needy in this hour of challenge. The government must think of innovative ways to ensure that the poor are helped to help the government in the implementation of these measures announced by it.”
Badal also said that the government must come up immediately with was to help the farmers with the harvesting and procurement of the standing crop. The farmers are at the end of the season. They are at the tether’s end where their financial needs are concerned and they have to harvest the crop, not only for themselves but also to feed the nation.
The food supply chain cannot be allowed to be broken. If that happens, it can have disastrous implications for the country. Badal demanded immediate financial assistance from the Punjab government to the farmers which could be adjusted in installments later.
Badal also appealed to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to “immediately order the deferment of all loans of farmers as no one would be in a position to repay at this stage.” He also sought immediate relief to all farm laborers in Punjab.
The former Deputy Chief Minister appealed to all Punjabis to cooperate with the government measures. “There is a need for care not panic. We will definitely defeat corona through our traditional vigour and will. We all must be careful in the interest of our families, elders and children. There is a need for observing precautions, and not for panic,” concluded Badal.