While addressing the Chief Minister of the States of the country through video conferencing from Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appreciated the efforts made by the States to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in their respective States.Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said that as many as 55,000 people of Himachal Pradesh stranded in various parts of the country are wanting to come back to their native places and about 68,000 people of other States stranded in Himachal Pradesh want to go back to their respective States. He said that one lakh people have already arrived in the State from various parts of the country. He said that this has resulted in increase of COVID-19 positive cases in the State. He said that total number of COVID-19 positive patients in the State was 40 a week ago, but within a week it has gone upto 59, which was a matter of concern for us, but at the same time it was the responsibility of the State Government to provide all possible help to the people stranded in various parts of the country.He said that State Government has developed geo fencing app to ensure that people coming from other States do not jump the quarantine period.Jai Ram Thakur said that the economy of the State of Himachal Pradesh has been badly affected due to the lockdown in wake of the corona epidemic. He said that the State Government has taken various steps to gradually start economic activities in the State. He said that the thousands of people of the State have come back from various parts of the country having expertise in different fields. He said that the State Government has decided to undertake talent mapping of such people so that in case the lockdown prolongs and they wish to stay back home, their services could be utilized for benefit of the State.
He said that apple season was nearing and since Azadpur Mandi at Delhi has been badly affected due to corona pandemic, he requested that alternate arrangements be made to facilitate the horticulturists to market their produce. He also favoured increase in lockdown period.Chief Minister said that the State Government would ensure that it would not cut down capital expenditure, but at the same time the Government would adopt austerity measures by curbing unproductive and wasteful expenditure. He said that the State Government has started Mukhya Mantri Shahri Ajivika Guarantee Yojna in the State to provide 120 days assured unskilled employment to every household in urban areas.Jai Ram Thakur said that tourism industry was worst affected due to this pandemic. Therefore, Government had decided to waive off electricity demand charges for the period of six month. Similarly, excise and taxation license fee would be waived off and lifting quota of bars would be on pro-rata basis. He said that government would also provide support to HPTDC by providing support to the Corporation for paying salaries of its employees. He said that in addition to this, token tax and special road tax would be waived off for 4 months and no penalty would be imposed on owners of private vehicles on account of delay on renewal of registration and permits etc. and Rs. 55 crore help would be provided to HRTC, he added. He said that the payment of demand charges in respect of industrial, commercial and agriculture consumers for electricity consumption of April, 2020 was being billed in May and for the consumption of May, 2020 to be billed in June, 2020 has been deferred till 30th June, 2020 and these charges would be recovered in three equal instalments during the months of July, August and September, 2020.Jai Ram Thakur expressed hope that under the able and farsighted leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the country would definitely win its fight against corona pandemic.Chief Secretary Anil Khachi, Director General of Police S.R. Mardi, Additional Chief Secretaries Manoj Kumar and R.D. Dhiman and Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Sanjay Kundu were present during the video conference meeting.