Amid the continuing curfew/lockdown in the state, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder on Tuesday ordered extension in the services of all retiring Police personnel and Home Guards by two months, to strengthen the citizen outreach on the ground.Further, to ease the pressure on the police force, of whom 44,546 were in the field today to enforce restrictions and conduct relief operations on war footing, around 1300 cops have been judiciously withdrawn from VVIP duty, including a significant number from CM security, to join the battle in the COVID-19 lockdown on the ground. Captain Amarinder had earlier authorized DGP Dinkar Gupta to pull out any number of police personnel from his (Chief Minister’s) personal security, or that of other VIP protectees, for deployment for COVID-19 crisis management, as he may deem fit. Expressing concern about the welfare and morale of thousands of police personnel, who had been performing field duties without rest or relief, over the past several days, the Chief Minister had directed mobilization of maximum police force through withdrawal from security duties.The DGP said further withdrawals would be made based on evaluation of the threat scenario, which was in progress, and through graded reduction. More security persons from district force and Armed Battalions will be withdrawn and organized into reserves, he said, adding that extensive mobilisation of the force had been planned and will be undertaken in a phased manner. The DGP said due care was being taken to deploy the police personnel in their home districts as far as possible.The Chief Minister, who is personally monitoring and reviewing the COVID and curfew related situation on a day-to-day basis, has also asked the police and civil administration to ensure all steps to protect and provide for the homeless and the migrant labour stranded in Punjab due to the sudden lockdown.
In this connection, he spoke to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and apprised him of the arrangements being made for such migrants from Bihar. Captain Amarinder also asked Nitish to assure the families of these migrants back in Bihar that they were being fully looked after by Punjab and Punjabis during these testing times.To boost the morale of the frontline workers, Captain Amarinder continued to reach out to the doctors, police and administrative officials working in the field and personally spoke to several of them during the day. He assured them of the state government’s full support in their war against this unprecedented crisis.Meanwhile, in its notification, the Department of Home Affairs & Justice said that as a one-time measure, taken in view of the emergent situation due to spread of COVID-19, the “uniformed personnel of Police and Punjab Home Guards working with the Government of Punjab shall continue to work irrespective of their date of retirement till 31.05.2020.” These orders would also apply to Officers/Officials whose retirement orders stand issued, said the notification, adding that “these employees would not be eligible for any promotion or additional perks during their extended period.”The step was necessitated to cope with the emergency situation triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent lockdown, an official spokesperson said. The state government had earlier given extensions in service to retiring doctors & health staff, as well as sanitation workers.According to DGP Dinkar Gupta, a total of 107 FIRs were registered today for violation of curfew/home quarantine restrictions and 132 persons were arrested. The police personnel on duty have strict instructions to enforce the restrictions in a sensitive manner, he said.
The police teams across districts also continued with the relief operations, reaching out to the needy and poor with rations and other essentials. A total of 1.42 crore cooked and dry meals were distributed among those in need, including migrants, construction workers, daily wagers and others who have no access to resources in these testing times, said the DGP.In a morale-boosting precautionary measure, Patiala Police Lines Doctor Sajilla Khan, along with her staff members, today visited the police nakas and screened the police personnel on duty there with the help of a thermal scanner. The DGP said the police personnel, who are frontline warriors in the battle against COVID-19, are being regularly made aware of precautions needed to be taken while on duty and during travel, as also at home.In the meantime, more and more organisations are extending support to the state government in its fight against the present crisis. After Radha Saomi Satsang Beas and Sant Niranakari Mission, the head Namdhari Sect, Satguru Sri Uday Singh, has now offered to the state government all support and cooperation in its battle against COVID-19. The Chief Minister thanked the Satguru for the support extended by them to the Ludhiana Civil and Police administration in providing and serving langar prepared at Sri Bhaini Sahib daily to the needy and poor, along with sanitisers to the people in the villages nearby. The Namdahri Dera on Rahon Road village Sasrali is also preparing and providing Langar to the poor in its nearby villages besides spraying to maintain public hygiene and sanitation. Apart from these, packets of dry ration are also being distributed amongst hundreds of people residing in rural and slum areas of Sangrur district by Namdhari Shaheed Samarak, Malerkotla.