Punjab & Region

Maharashtra govt. erred in not conducting proper screening of pilgrims stranded at Nanded, says Punjab health minister

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The Fact News Service

Ludhiana, May 4

Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu today said that the Maharashtra Government had erred in not conducting proper screening and tests of the pilgrims who were stranded at Nanded. He said that due to the failure on part of the Maharashtra government, the number of positive cases in Punjab rose. He informed that he had also spoken to his counterpart in Maharashtra government, Rajesh Tope, over the phone and had expressed displeasure over this development.

Sidhu was in the city to chair a meeting with MP, MLAs, Deputy Commissioner, Commissioner of Police and other senior district administration officials. This meeting was held at Police Lines, here, and was attended by Member of Parliament Ravneet Singh Bittu, MLAs Rakesh Pandey, Amrik Singh Dhillon, Surinder Dawar, Kuldeep Singh Vaid, Sanjay Talwar, Deputy Commissioner Pradeep Kumar Agrawal, Commissioner of Police Rakesh Kumar Agrawal, Civil Surgeon Dr Rajesh Kumar Bagga, besides others. During the meeting, Sidhu took suggestions about the ongoing efforts being made to check the spread of COVID-19.

While speaking to media persons, Balbir Singh Sidhu said, “Had the Maharashtra government informed the Punjab government on time, we would have been able to make arrangements accordingly. The Maharashtra government simply tested their body temperature and had they tested the pilgrims, we would have known how many out of them are positive and negative and subsequently, their travel arrangements would have been made accordingly. Had they done this exercise of segregating the positive and negative patients, the Punjab government would have brought them separately,” he said. 

He said that everyone knows about the COVID-19 outbreak in Maharashtra, and it has become the hotspot of coronavirus in country and it was due to negligence on their part that led to increase in number of positive patients in Punjab.

He said that the capacity of the existing government labs is being increased so that the reports of tests come out early. He informed that soon, the COVID-19 testing at Christian Medical College and Hospital would start, besides the government is also tying up with private labs such as Dr Lal Path Labs, Tuli Labs Amritsar and other such companies. He assured that very soon, the testing capacity in Punjab would easily become more than 6000 tests per day.

Taking an aim at the Union government, the Punjab Health Minister said that they are not providing any support to the Punjab government. He said that till date, the Union government has allocated only Rs 71 crore to fight COVID-19 which is very less. He said that the union government has even failed to allocate pending GST arrears of Rs 4400 crore to Punjab.

He further said that the state government is also discussing to home quarantine the pilgrims whose reports have come negative and assured that all facilities are being provided to them at the isolation centres.

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