Punjab police distribute nearly 1.9 lakh food packets across districts, volunteers & rickshaw pullers being roped in

Chandigarh, March 27 : The Punjab Police on Friday scaled up its curfew relief operations across the state through the distribution of nearly 1.9 lakh food packets and set up medical camps in various districts, while facilitating the movement of about 3000 trucks and lorries carrying essentials into the State across various Inter-State border points in the past 24 hours.

Even as the police continued to clear the 1600-odd applications received from individuals for 2-pass, under the facility launched yesterday, they were also working on introducing new kinds of passes, such as an Inter-State Critical Emergency Transit Pass, covering the States of Punjab, Delhi, UP, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and UT of Chandigarh, as the Baddi Industry Pass to facilitate travel.

A total of 42,515 police personnel across ranks, along with volunteers, were on the ground today to enforce curfew and maintain essential supplies as well as law & order. A total of 79 FIRs were registered and 104 persons arrested in 24 hours till Friday evening for curfew violation and violation of quarantine guidelines.

Disclosing this, DGP Dinkar Gupta said the 112 police emergency number that was yesterday transformed into Curfew Helpline had received 17,000 calls in 24 hours, of which 10699 calls related to queries regarding COVID-19 and or other information. COVID emergency related calls were 1176, of which 406 related to violations of curfew, 531 to supply of essential commodities, 65 to Medicines, 102 to reporting of suspected cases of Corona Virus and 10 to Medical assistance, while 62 were miscellaneous calls. The rest of the calls related to issues not related to COVID. 

To further streamline operations, all CPs and SSPs of the districts have nominated designated officers for specific tasks, such as District War Room, District Control Room, maintenance of essential services, maintaining smooth flow of traffic in the district including the National/state Highways, District Police Media Liaison officer, and Hospital/Medical Liaison Officer. 

Giving details of the e-pass facility, the DGP said for a large number of the 1600 applications received, passes had been granted. A few had been rejected while others were still under process, he added. It may be recalled that the Digital e-Pass facility, a web based application, was launched by Punjab Police yesterday across the State for providing about 9 different kinds of e-passes for different kinds of categories, such as Hospital, Medical related issues, Mediapersons, Movement of essential goods, essential services, Health workers, government officials, vendors (fruits, vegetables, groceries), delivery workers (grocery, fruit, vegetable, restaurant, chemist). 

Regarding distribution of food, Gupta said of the 188317 food packets distributed today, 134815 lakh were of cooked food and 53502 were dry food packets. A total of 10205 food packets were distributed in Amritsar City and 10,000 in Amritsar Rural, while in Bathinda, 950 packets were distributed, besides 500 in Batala, 9540 in Bathinda, 2400 in Faridkot, 5200 in Fatehgarh Sahib, 3000 in Fazilka and 4500 in Ferozepur.

Likewise, 1950 food packets were delivered in Gurdaspur, 9500 in Hoshiarpur, 12,000 in Jalandhar City, 6055 in Jalandhar Rural, 1550 in Kapurthala, 4000 in Khanna, 17000 in Ludhiana City and 13,600 in Ludhiana Rural.

A maximum of 28000 food items was provided to 28,000 people in Mansa, while 1100 packets were given out in Moga, 7500 in Patiala, 15,000 in Pathankot, 3667 in Ropar, 8000 in Sangrur, 9000 in SAS Nagar, 1000 in SBS Nagar, 7000 in Sri Muktsar Sahib and 9600 in Tarn Taran.

To facilitate supply of essentials, the DGP said senior officers were initiating special measures in their respective districts.

Community kitchens have now been set up in three slum areas of Ludhiana (Rural) Police district. In Ludhiana (Rural) district, and dry packets were distributed to around 1600 persons while cooked meals were served to around 12000 people.

Under the guidance of SSP Kapurthala, Medical Camps were organised in area of Phagwara, Subhanpur and Begowal areas. In Bathinda, 1400 packets containing dry rations were distributed by the Police. The dry ration packets included 5 kg atta, 1kg Sugar, 100 gm tea, ½ kg ghee, ½ kg dal, 1kg rice, 1 kg namak, all necessary masale. In addition, 8140 cooked packets were distributed in Bathinda.

According to the DGP, all-out efforts were being made to restore the supply chain of essential goods as well as all kinds of foodstuff and perishable commodities, which had been disrupted due to the sudden lockdown order of the Union Government. The movement of Goods vehicles (trucks and lorries) across the inter-state border as well as within the State, especially those carrying essential Goods and perishable commodities, had been restored completely, and at present no trucks were stranded at any of the Inter-state borders, said Gupta.

To ensure the smooth and uninterrupted operation of the Inter-State supply chain of goods, the supervision of the Inter-State Barrier on NH-1 at Shambu in Patiala had been given on 24/7 basis to Jatinder Singh Aulakh, IGP Patiala Range.

Efforts were also being made to enrol volunteers as Curfew Police officers, especially in villages and city/town Mohallas, to enforce the curfew, especially in certain areas and villages where the police presence was thin on the ground. SSP Barnala had enrolled 50 such volunteers while SSP Bathinda has engaged Village Chowkidars and Forest Guards for enforcement of curfew in the villages.

The DGP said efforts were also being made to involve ordinary Rickshaw pullers to sell vegetables/ milk etc. in small areas of operation. This would facilitate delivery of vegetables and provide livelihood to the rickshaw pullers.

In view of the serious threat posed by COVID-19 to the people of the State and the need to contain the spread of the decease, DGP Punjab also once again cautioned the citizens to show self-restraint and discipline, and strictly adhere to the curfew restrictions and the lockdown. He warned that the police would have no choice but to book all those violating the lockdown under the stringent provision of Disaster Management Act, 2005 as well as suitable provision of the IPC.

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