Khattar said he had appealed to farmers’ leaders even a month earlier to suspend their dharnas so that the disease does not spread. He along with Health Minister Anil Vij also expressed exasperation over farmer leaders’ reluctance to ask agitating farmers to get themselves tested for COVID-19 and treated against the infection.
Referring to farmers’ movement to and from dharna sites, the Haryana CM said, “What is coming to the fore now is that because of these dharnas, this (infection) has spread,” adding “In many villages, hotspots have emerged because their people are regularly coming and going back from dharna sites.”
Addressing a news conference on Thursday evening virtually, Khattar said “If they wish to restart these dharnas once the situation is under control, they are free to do so.”
He further said, “Their leaders should understand the situation even now. They keep ranting that they will take the vaccine but will not get themselves tested. If they do not get tested, one doesn’t know who might have been impacted by COVID.”
“They should come forward to be tested so that those found positive can be treated and other necessary measures can be taken accordingly,” he said, adding “everyone should have faith in the health and medical system. If we start doubting it, it displays our narrow mindedness. So, I appeal to farmers sitting on dharnas to get their tests done.”
According to Haryana CM, “If one gets infected, how many others too are at the risk. Others too have to bear the repercussions.” Earlier nearly a month ago, the Chief Minister had urged farmers to withdraw their stir on “humanitarian grounds” citing a surge in Covid-19 cases.
He had then said while it is the constitutional right of every person to protest and the state does not have a problem with anyone doing so in a peaceful manner, the situation due to rising COVID cases is a matter of concern.
After his appeal last month, Haryana BKU leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni had then said protesting farmers should not be compelled to get themselves tested or vaccinated and if health workers tried to force them, they will not allow them to enter protest sites.
Health Minister Anil Vij lamented that farmer leaders’ outright refusal to ask their followers to take the COVID test, adding “Our officials held a meeting with farmers’ leaders last month but they outrightly refused to appeal to peasants to undergo tests.”
Viz said, “I had sent health teams for the vaccination and testing at the protest sites near Delhi borders. So far, not more than 1,900 have taken the tests,” adding that the farmer leaders said they will also not appeal to anyone to take vaccines.
Haryana to bear PMJJBY premium for BPL families
The Haryana government on Thursday decided to pay the premium of a life insurance policy in the name of the prime minister, entitling a below-poverty-line person’s nominee to Rs 2 lakh. The scheme is for people between ages 18 to 50 years with an annual premium of Rs 330.
Chief Minister M L Khattar said the state government has decided to bear the premium amount to be paid under the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) for the BPL families.
He said that those who are yet to fill up the form under the Yojana can go to the bank to fill the form and get the benefit, adding that the forms of this scheme can be filled till May 31.
According to an official statement, the poor families who have lost their members, many of them young and earning ones, during the second wave of COVID-19 and for some reason could not fill the form for the Yojana, will also be given a benefit of Rs 2 lakh by the state government.
It said, “For the beneficiaries of the Yojana, as soon as the installment premium of Rs 330 is deducted from the Jandhan account of the holder, the amount of premium will be deposited in the account by the state government.”
Meanwhile, the Haryana government has decided to float global tenders for procurement of COVID-19 vaccines to ensure that all those above 18 in the state are inoculated. The COVID cases in Haryana have witnessed a surge in the past few weeks. The number of total active cases in the state, as on May 12, was 1,07,058.
(With Agency Inputs)