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Lockdown Virodhi Morcha formed in Chandigarh


22G TV (19-04-2021): A meeting of various trade unions, Traders Associations, Hotel Owners Associations, Pendu Sangharsh Committee, Students and Youth organisations of Chandigarh was held today to discuss the issue of the danger of lockdown declaration by the Chandigarh administration. The organisations decided to form a ‘Lockdown virodhi Morcha, Chandigarh’ to oppose any move by the administration to impose the lockdown. The morcha has called for a protest on 22nd April if the administration does not announce a NO Lockdown policy.

The leaders of various organisations who attended the meeting discussed the issue of the increasing second wave of the pandemic from all aspects which matter to the public and highlighted that the past experience of lockdown has shown that it had no major role in stalling the advance of the covid wave rather it itself became a danger to people’s life and livelihood. It was noted that businesses as well as the employees, the daily wage earners, the domestic workers, construction workers suffered heavy losses during the lockdown announced last year. The news of possible lockdown has spread among the migrant population and they are already making panic decisions because they still remember the horrible days of lockdown when they were starved and were beaten by police and had to walk hundreds of miles to their native places. The meeting unanimously agreed that the lockdown is no solution of covid spread.

On the other hand, it was resolved that the government and Chandigarh administration has failed to do what was needed to be done on their part like the stocking up of essentials drugs, oxygen and essential supplies. The infrastructure to handle pandemic situation while streamlining the other medical services should have been built during the last year. Larger contingent of medical staff needed to be employed and trained during this period. Public transport system, schools and colleges should have been made pandemic ready to run despite the virus. But none of this has been done.

The war room strategies of the administration were criticized for lack of coherence and for being alienated from the ground realities. The meeting called upon the UT administration to constitute a ‘disaster management committee’ including representatives of various trade and business organisations as well as other stake holders. Such a committee can lay down the road map action plan for fighting the pandemic effectively without instituting damaging costs on the life and livelihood of the residents.

Apart from this the following demands were raised
1. Replace the ‘war room’ with an all inclusive committee of social organisations, trade unions, traders and other stake holders’ representatives and a joint action plan to fight the pandemic shall be made.
2. Declare clearly that there will be no lockdown so that people are not forced to take panic decisions on migrations and storing essentials.
3. ensure the availability of vaccination at mohalla/sector level for all who want it. Administration should declare its stock and availability of supplies of vaccine.
4. Ensure the readiness of all PHCs, Dispensaries, Hospitals including GMCH Sec. 32, GMSH Sec. 16 and PGI for treating ALL patients and not only the covid cases.
5. Ensure the availability of Oxygen, Ambulances, ICU beds, and the essential drugs
6. Ensure that a centralised information system is available to public about availability of various facilities at various locations.
7. Reduce the penalty amount of mask challans. People are already penniless. Replace the system with constructive instead of coercive methods like distributing masks along with a small token penalty.
8. Stop any avoidable decisions that may involve public unrest or opposition.
9. Administration shall open all schools and colleges and libraries and make infrastructural arrangements to ensure the safety as well as proper education of the students.
10. The administration should announce a monetary as well as liability relief package for the small and medium scale businesses including traders and hoteliers running their businesses in Chandigarh.
11. The administration should announce a relief package as well as compensation for the last one year of lockdown to the workers who lost their livelihood. Retrenchments under the guise of CORONA should be prevented.

Meeting was presided over by Baljinder singh Bittu and attended by Kanwaljeet singh President All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), Sajjan Singh of Center of Trade Union (CTU Pb.), Rajkumar president All IndiaTrade Union Congress (AITUC), Kanhaiya lal gen sec. Indian National Trade Union Congress INTUC, Satish kumar Construction Workers Union, Arvinder Singh, president Hotel Resturant Association, Balwinder Singh, President Market Welfare Association Sec 46, Kamaljeet Singh Panchi, President Market Welfare Asso Sec. 17, Daljeet Singh Numberdaar, President Pendu Sangharsh committee, Pardeep Chopra RWA Sec. 21, Manavjot, President Naujwan Bharat Sabha, Soumya Gen Sec. All India Students Asso (AISA), Amandeep Kaur of PSU (Lalkar), Razia of Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA), Sudama kumar of Factory Workers Union, Inderjeet Singh Grewal, Gurpreet Singh Somal, Baba Sadhu Singh Sarangpur, Joga Singh, Sukhwinder Singh Attawa apart from others.

– Jashan Sidhu