Chandigarh, March 25 (IANS) With the tightening of restrictions in Punjab in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus, a majority of politicians, who are normally busy with meeting hoards of people both at home and in office, are now socialising with their families.
However, those at the helm of the government are busy work from home via digitally.
Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu, who resides in palatial official bungalow in Chandigarh, has put up a notice outside his house, saying “No public dealing due to coronavirus”.
But he said he’s doing work from home.
“Minute by minute I am getting feedback on my phone from my officers about the status of patients quarantined in isolation wards and those who are home quarantined,” Sidhu told IANS on phone.
“Hope all staying safe, I told my staff to plug their webcams or make video calls to interact with them,” he added.
His Cabinet colleague Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said with the imposition of lockdown people in the state faced the problem of getting the milk supply.
“To understand the problem, I made by personal mobile number public so that the consumers and the producers could directly reach out to me. After understanding the problem, I gave directions to Milkfed to start supplying the long-shelf milk,” he said.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is also quite active these days on Twitter to reach out the people.
“I just received these photographs. Wonderful discipline by the Punjabis. Stay at home and keep yourself safe. Administration & Police are working to ensure you all have access to essentials #COVID2019,” he tweeted on Wednesday.
He tagged pictures to explain how to maintain social distance while dealing with the public.
Also, the Chief Minister is reaching out to the people through his videos.
In a latest video, he appealed to the people to voluntarily adhere to the curfew imposed to tackle the prevailing war-like coronavirus situation.
He also shared a short video of what his administration and the police did during the day.
“Right from organising food & ration for underprivileged to sanitising & cleaning streets, DCs (Deputy Commissioners) will ensure supply of essentials to all & dedicated helplines have been set up in all districts,” he tweeted.
So are the officers.
Jalandhar Deputy Commissioner Varinder Sharma asked the public not to rush to the markets to buy milk and essential foodstuff, if there is a curfew relaxation.
“We will try to provide milk, vegetables and other essential items at your doorsteps,” Sharma told the public through a video message.
Even Chandigarh Adviser Manoj Kumar Parida is reaching out to the public regarding the relaxation in curfew and the administration’s preparedness through videos.
Shiromani Akali Dal chief and Member of Parliament Sukhbir Badal has been posting videos on Twitter for making appeals to his party cadre to reached out those who are in distress.
However, some of the legislators have devised ways to keep them busy with the private life with all public functions closing and all social events including weddings stopping.
Faridkot legislator Kushaldeep Singh, popularly known as Kiki Dhillon, is busy with his family stud farm.
“I am in touch with my people via phone over ways to prevent by adopting social distance,” he said.
Another legislator Kulbir Singh Zira takes to cooking as his cook was sent on leave to prevent the disease spread, while Gidderbaha legislator and firebrand leader Amrinder Singh Raja Warring is chess with the family and nurturing gardens.
Finance Minister Manpreet Badal, who lost his mother last week, in a video message requested the people not to come to the funeral because of the coronavirus outbreak.
He posted the message on his Facebook page, saying “I would encourage everyone to refrain from arriving in person for my mother’s funeral, given the severity and the contagiousness of the coronavirus. Please convey any condolences electronically.”
(Vishal Gulati can be reached at [email protected])