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Punjab empowers urban bodies to help poor during lockdown

Chandigarh, March 28 (IANS) A day after the Punjab Chief Minister authorised village heads to use panchayat funds, Amarinder Singh here on Saturday empowered the urban local bodies to buy medicines and food for people suffering due to lockdown.

Instructions had been issued by the Local Government Department to enable all municipal corporations, committees and councils and nagar panchayats to bear the necessary expenditure on this count to mitigate the hardships faced by the urban poor, said spokesperson for the Chief Minister’s Office.

Declaring these expenses as fit charge in view of the prevailing crisis, Singh asked the Local Government Department to use the municipal funds under the relevant provisions of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act of 1976 and of the Punjab Municipal Act of 1911.

Given the large populations, the municipal corporations of Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar have been empowered to spend Rs 1 lakh a day, subject to maximum limit of Rs 20 lakh for the 21-day lockdown.

The other municipal corporations have been entitled to spend up to Rs 50,000 daily, subject to maximum of Rs 10 lakh. Simlarly, the nagar councils have been empowered to incur expenditure of Rs 25,000 daily, with maximum limit of up to Rs 5 lakh.

On Friday, the Chief Minister had authorised sarpanches to use panchayat funds to provide emergency relief to the poor and needy.

The sarpanches have been authorised to spend Rs 5,000 a day, subject to a maximum of Rs 50,000, out of their panchayat funds, and have also been given powers to issue passes and letters for medical emergencies in their respective villages to allow people to visit doctors or hospitals for treatment and medicines.

–IANS

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