Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur during informal interaction with the media here today said that keeping in view the situation of Coronavirus in the Himachal Pradesh, the State Government has lockdown the state to prevent the spread of this epidemic. He said that the State Government was ensuring that the people of the State, especially poor labourers and workers in non government sector do not face any problem due to lockdown.Chief Minister said that to provide relief assistance to the needy and poor the State Government has decided to provide several relief measures, with an expenditure of approximately Rs. 500 crore.Jai Ram Thakur said that about 5.34 lakh social security pension holders of the state would be issued first quarter pension in the first week of April, 2020, which includes about 1.25 lakh widows and disability pension holders, for whom monthly pension has been increased from Rs. 850 to Rs. 1000. He said that the Department for the Empowerment of Schedule Castes, Other Backward Classes, Minorities and Specially Abled has also been directed to take immediate steps to provided pension to 50 thousand new eligible persons soon.The Chief Minister said that increased honorarium would be released from 1st April 2020 to workers working in various government departments in the state such as anganwari workers, anganwari assistants, mini anganwari workers, ASHA workers, Silai teachers, mid-day meal workers, water guards, para fitters, para pump operators, numberdars, panchayat chowkidars, etc.
He said that increased wages from April 1, 2020 would also be provided to daily wagers and outsourced workers.Jai Ram Thakur said that it has also been decided to provide one-time relief of Rupees two thousand to nearly one lakh fifty thousand workers registered with the Building and Construction Workers Board. He said that two months of flour and rice would be given to targeted public distribution system card holders, simultaneously.The Chief Minister said that during the Legislative Assembly session today, suggestions have been given by the MLAs to provide the necessary masks and sanitizers and other necessary materials from the MLA Area Development Fund to deal with the coronavirus, on which the government has decided that all these materials could be provided after recommendation from MLAs under this fund.He said that out of a total of 71 cases investigated in the state so far, 69 have being reported negative while 2 cases were positive. He said that during lock-down, the Heads of Departments have been instructed to call atleast employees / officers on duty at their level. He said that during this period salary of daily wagers or contract employees workers' would not be deducted. He said that proper provision should be made for the employees so that they could attend the office.