We are fighting an Invisible enemy today, foresight is everything and under the strong leadership of Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta, the state managed to contain the threat of contagious coronavirus. Lockdown+ brought various challenges with it, the government machinery is doing its best to tackle that.
Punjab's Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta in a virtual interview with True Scoop, spoke about the challenges, how Punjab is dealing with it and, of course, what would be the state's strategy of exiting Lockdown+ thoroughly.
Q: Corona Virus has come in times of social media. #MainBhiHarjitSingh is an important campaign. How has social media helped you in fighting this Pandemic?
A: Social media is for youngsters and is the only source of information to them. Social media works like a bullet and is a game-changer, have made us reach a large audience in a short time.
Q: But it does come with a con— Fake News. We at True Scoop are trying our best to make people aware of this & get them into a habit of fact-checking what they read through credible sources before quoting it to their friends. We’ve also seen you publicly speak and make some tough rules against Fake News— what do you have to say about this challenge that comes along with it?
A: Fake news/ rumours have been a great nuisance to the society, to curtail its threat we have come up with a successful campaign #FakeNewsDiKhairNahi. Miscreants across the state have been booked for inciting violence and communal hatred, we are committed to doing so if anything goes around in future.
Q: Since this pandemic is closely related to the medical field, we’re having to rely a lot on external resources to fight this but also one of our cities is quite well known for medical tourism. Do you think our infrastructure & expertise has helped us fight the Pandemic and also be a guiding light for others?
A: Punjab has left no stone unturned in the fight against the pandemic, 82 per cent of villages went under voluntary lockdown. People have extended full co-operation to the police personnel in the rural and urban areas. Government has ramped up facilities and preparedness if the state enters the third stage #communitytransmisison. In the police department also, special quarantine facilities have been developed to ensure sound health of the frontline heroes.
Q: Challenging times often helps us see our strengths and weaknesses crystal clear. What do you think are some of Punjab’s strengths & what are its weaknesses?
A: Punjab's strength withstands with the natives of the state, tradition of hospitality, NGOs, religious organisations stood up for the destitute in such harsh times when they are devoid of getting basic amenities for sustenance when CM foresightedly announced to impose lockdown+ (curfew) across the state to curb the spread of the deadly virus. Entire government machinery worked as one force in the battle against #Coronavirus.
Challenges arose during the time of harvesting and procurement which started on April 15. A large number of people who had come from foreign countries was a great matter of concern for us, fortunately, everybody showed their support to the authorities and the administration.
Q: Economy? Migrant Labour? Stuck NRIs? If you were to prioritise what are the main challenges pertaining to the Virus apart from containing the Cases?
A: With lockdown, the economy went through a breakthrough. But re-start of industrial units/factories have brought it back on track, migrants have changed their mind to go back home as they got their livelihood back. The influx of people/NRIs have always been on the priority list of the government, compelling cases will return home soon. The first lot of NRIs, who are compelling cases, 1,080 people will reach at Amritsar Airport on May 14 via special flights arranged by Union Ministry of External Affairs. So far, we (Punjab) have evacuated 9200 people belonging to USA, UK, Canada, etc.
Q: How does Punjab plan on coming out of the lockdown? And when?
A: Punjab is almost on its way of opening-up, things will become normal soon. We are working in-sync with the GoI regime under the Disaster Management Act to lift the lockdown. Every day more number of shops are getting opened, factories have resumed their operations, time window has also increased to 8 hours a day.
Q: Do you think proper enforcement of lockdown is somewhat lacking in some cities of Punjab which has contributed in the spike of these cases? And if not, are people cooperating with Punjab Police?
A: Punjab has done a good job in tackling the pandemic, people outside the state are also applauding the efforts made by the government and administration. With the influx of people in Punjab from affected areas, the spike in cases was witnessed, gradually things are coming back on track and it would remain under check. All the frontline heroes are working tirelessly to contain the spread of the virus and are taking up the challenges courageously.