Punjab-Maharashtra blame game intensifies at Nanded Point
CHANDIGARH/AURANGABAD: Punjab recorded its highest number of Covid-19 cases on a day when 187 tested positive on Saturday. Of these, 170 were pilgrims who had returned from Maharashtra. With this, Punjab's overall count increased to 772 cases, including 339 Nanded pilgrims.
As positive cases skyrocketed in Punjab, Prime Minister Amarinder Singh accused Maharashtra of misleading his government into the pilgrims' medical condition by claiming that they had been examined three times by Covid-19. Unfortunately, the report we received from Nanded was that they had run tests three times and the reports were negative. But when we tested (the pilgrims) here, more than 200 came back positive. We have now quarantined them and they will go home only after the doctors have told them. The reports were not correct, ”he said in a television interview.
All because of people who have come from Punjab: Maha min
Up to 20 employees, most of whom were involved in the langar service, as well as two drivers and a bus attendant who transported some of the stranded pilgrims to Punjab, tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday.
The Nanded district administration has declared the entire Takht Sachkhand Shri Hazur Abchalnagar Sahib Gurdwara, various bathing ghats and venues around the shrine as a containment area, prohibiting all public movement, including that of devotees.
The increasing number of people associated with positive tests for gurdwara has intensified the confrontation between the governments of Punjab and Maharashtra.
Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Ashok Chavan, who hails from Nanded and is an important leader of Congress, said he would not want to get into the blame game, adding: What has happened is definitely because of the people who came. from Punjab.
On Maharashtra's claims that affected pilgrims may have contracted the infection on the way home, Amarinder said that would not be possible if you go through how the disease spreads. If you are infected today, the test will not be positive the next day. They got here in two days, he said.
Commenting on the Punjab Health Minister Balbir Sidhu, who wrote to the Maharashtra government about the difference in the reports, Amarinder said: If we want to turn it into a national battle against Covid, all states will have to unite, be it Haryana , Maharashtra or Himachal.
The Punjab government and authorities in Nanded, including members of the gurdwara board of directors, have disagreed over when the pilgrims contracted the infection.
Nanded deputy collector Prashant Shelke said a group of Langar employees was serving more than 3,700 stranded pilgrims, some of whom were found positive only after returning to Punjab.
The Punjab government had sent a fleet of nearly 80 buses to transport stranded Sikh devotees in Nanded. Local authorities organized more than 40 buses to transport some of these pilgrims back home with the government's permission.
Gurmeet Singh Mahajan, a member of the Nanded gurdwara board of directors, denied that the stranded pilgrims had contracted the disease in Maharashtra. He made a counterattack that Covid-19 reached the gurdwara Nanded from Punjab. Nanded bus drivers who went to Punjab contracted the infection during the trip or after arriving at the destination, he said.