LAHORE: Terming social distancing and use of sanitizers and masks essential for safety from coronavirus, Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar said on Wednesday that the spread of this virus can be reduced if shopkeepers follow the policy of ‘no mask, no service.'

“Coronavirus has ushered in socio-economic and cultural changes in the whole world and now, the people will have to learn to live with it by following certain precautions," the CM said in a statement.

Sardar Usman said that public cooperation is important to achieve the goals of the anti-coronavirus campaign. The citizens can remain safe from it and also protect the lives of the loved ones by following necessary precautionary measures. No one can prognosticate the longevity of the coronavirus, he said.

The CM Sardar Usman Buzdar, while chairing a meeting, issued directions for taking every administrative step to stabilize the prices of essential items in the province.

The meeting took stock of different matters including the provision of wheat to KPK province and stabilization of prices of essential items.

The CM asserted that no one will be allowed to increase the prices of essential items including flour, sugar, ghee and poultry adding that administrative action will be taken against illegal profiteers. He reiterated that the provision of essential items will be ensured at fixed rates. The CM asserted that people cannot be left at the mercy of hoarders and illegal profiteers and directed to initiate indiscriminate crackdown against them. Action will be initiated against those involved in the price hike, he added.

The chief minister emphasized that an increase in the rates of flour, sugar, ghee and poultry is unacceptable after a sufficient decrease in the prices of petroleum products. He directed that price-control mechanism should be effectively utilized and price-control magistrates should daily check the prices of essential items.

The CM assured that flour mills will be accommodated to enhance their flour reserves. The Punjab government has made a record wheat purchase in the current season as more than 4.3 million metric ton wheat reserves are available with the government, he said. Similarly, the Punjab government has more than 1.8 million ton sugar reserves and it has also ensured payments of more than Rs 170 billion to farmers. The administration, industry and food departments should keep a vigilant eye on the situation as there is no room for looters, he emphasised. The food needs of KPK province will be taken care of as they are the brethren of Punjab province, the CM concluded.

Further, the CM Sardar Usman Buzdar said that efforts are being made at every level to overcome the locust attack.

In a statement, he said the district administration is fully engaged to overcome the locust attack and all options are being utilized in this regard.

The chief minister directed the line departments should remain vigilant round the clock and added that one billion rupees' funds have been issued to overcome locus attack. The locus monitoring is continued in 24 districts over an area of one crore and 47 lakh acres. Meanwhile, 75 thousand litre pesticides have been sprayed over seven lakh and 56 thousand acres of land and the government is using different resources to save the farmers from damages.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020