COVID-19: Punjab shops to shut down after 5 pm, government appoints 473 staff nurses

CHANDIGARH: The Punjab cabinet on Monday gave approval for recruiting 473 staff nurses in the government-run hospitals of Patiala and Amritsar, a move aimed a effectively combating the coronavirus crisis in the state.

The decision was taken during a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh here on Monday evening.

These posts of nurses will be taken out of the purview of the Subordinate Service Selection Board to Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot through written test on the basis of merit.

Rajindra Hospital in Patiala and Guru Nanak Dev hospital in Amritsar are attached with the government medical colleges of Patiala and Amritsar.

According to a Chief Minister’s Office spokesperson, the basic pay of these staff nurses would be Rs 29,200 per month.

These posts were created under the state government’s plan of restructuring to bring far more efficiency in the functioning of the Medical Education and Research department.

In another decision, the state cabinet also approved modalities for distribution of smartphones to nearly 2.15 lakh students of class 12 for the academic session 2021-22 under ‘Punjab Smart Connect Scheme’.

The state government has allotted a budget of Rs 100 crore to the school education department for the scheme for the financial year 2021-22.

As many as 1,75,443 students studying in class 12 of government schools have already been given mobile phones last year.

According to the spokesperson, realising the benefit of imparting online education remotely to the students through the distributed smartphones, particularly in the adverse pandemic situation last year, it has now been decided to extend the scheme to the students to be admitted in Class 12 of the academic year 2021-22.

The procurement shall be carried out through Punjab Infotech, under the Industries and Commerce department.

The cabinet also gave approval for redevelopment, operation and maintenance of Circuit Houses at Amritsar, Ludhiana and Jalandhar on Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode.

The spokesperson said Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) being the nodal agency of the state has been authorised for taking necessary action in this regard.

The general administration department intends to develop and operate circuit houses at Ludhiana and Jalandhar on PPP mode to be operated as circuit houses-cum-hotels.

Pertinently, the general administration department operates 10 Circuit Houses in Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Bathinda, Ferozepur, Faridkot, Patiala, Gurdaspur, Chandigarh and Shimla.

In addition there are two Punjab Bhawans in New Delhi and Chandigarh.

These circuit houses were developed for the stay of government officials visiting different district headquarters for official work.

The state government has also ordered on Monday ordered a weekend lockdown and extended the night curfew by two hours in a bid to tackle the surge in coronavirus cases.

The government has also ordered the closure of shops by 5 pm.

“Due to continuous & rapid rise of #Covid19 cases in Punjab, Cabinet today has decided to impose daily lockdown from 6 PM to 5 AM and weekend lockdown from Friday 6 PM to Monday 5 AM. Urge you all to stay at home & step out only if absolutely necessary. Seek your full cooperation,” Punjab CM Amarinder Singh in a tweet said.

“All shops will remain open till 5 pm from Monday till Friday,” said Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar addressing mediapersons after a cabinet meeting here.

He said the night curfew will now be imposed from 6 pm to 5 am in the state daily.

Presently, the curfew restrictions remain in place from 8 pm to 5 am.

The state had witnessed a record single-day spike of 7,014 cases on Sunday.