Forced to impose curfew in larger interest: Punjab CM
Chandigarh, Mar 24: Hours after announcing a curfew in Punjab to combat coronavirus, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday said he was forced to take the extreme measure in the "larger interest" of the state.
Appealing to the people to voluntarily adhere to the curfew imposed to tackle the prevailing "war-like situation", Singh also warned of strict action against the violators.
The Punjab government on Monday clamped a curfew to fight coronavirus, making it the first state to take the drastic measure after finding that many people were ignoring the state-wide lockdown ordered by it.
In a video message addressing the people of Punjab, the chief minister said he was forced to take the stringent step "in the larger interest of the state, and in the interest of all of you", as he had received reports that people were moving around normally in towns, mohallas and cities defying the lockdown that took into effect on Monday morning.
He appealed to the people for their cooperation and said the violation of the lockdown by them was "unacceptable" and it was the responsibility of his government, and his duty as its head, to "save Punjab".
Making it clear that the curfew would be continuous, spanning 24 hours a day, the chief minister, in a statement here, said only those with emergent needs would be allowed to go out, after taking due permission from their respective Deputy Commissioners. The mobile numbers of DCs would be shared with the public.
Difficult decisions need to be taken in difficult times, Singh said, adding it had become necessary to impose and enforce curfew to "survive these tough times".
"Please listen to me, and bear with me," he appealed to the people, emphasising that "We must work shoulder to shoulder to fend off the crisis we are all facing".
"We must save our state, our people; we have children, families," the chief minister said, adding that as a small state, it was all the more reason for Punjab to take all possible steps "to preserve our population and ensure that everyone lives happily for years to come."
Punjab reported 21 positive coronavirus cases till Monday morning.