Blame on Punjab drivers for corona infections misleading: Minister

Chandigarh, May 4 : Punjab Transport Minister Razia Sultana on Monday dismissed as "misleading and bereft of facts" Maharashtra PWD Minister Ashok Chavan's claim that drivers from Punjab might have infected pilgrims brought back from Nanded.

Sultana said a person holding a constitutional post "must not act irresponsibly and give any statement without verifying the facts".

She said in reality, the first batch of 31 vehicles -- 20 buses and 11 Tempo Travelers which transported 860 pilgrims from a historic gurdwara in Nanded to Punjab -- and their crew were all from Maharashtra.

She said that the first batch of stranded pilgrims came via private buses arranged locally from Nanded.

They started their journey for Punjab on the night of April 23.

The second batch of 11 Tempo Travelers started moving towards Punjab on April 24 late night and reached Punjab on April 26 late night, the Minister said.

Similarly, Sultana added, the third batch of 13 buses carrying pilgrims started their journey to Punjab from Sri Hazoor Sahib from April 25 late night and April 26 early morning and reached Punjab on April 27 late night and in early morning on April 28.

On the other hand, Sultana said, Punjab government's buses left for Nanded on April 25 and reached there early morning on April 27.

She said that these buses started their journey to Punjab on April 27 night and started reaching Bathinda from April 29 afternoon onwards till April 30 early morning.

It is a matter of fact that a few private vehicles had left Nanded even before the buses started bringing pilgrims home and the passengers who travelled in these private vehicles have tested positive, including one of the drivers belonging to Nanded, she said.

Chavan had told the media that the possibility of the Punjab drivers, who transported the pilgrims from Nanded to Punjab in buses, spreading coronavirus infections among them could not be ruled out.

Punjab's coronavirus cases doubled in the past three days following the return of nearly 4,000 pilgrims from Nanded town in Maharashtra.

The total number of cases in the state stood at 380 on April 29, but it spiked to 977.

With 331 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, the total climbed to 1,102.



Source: IANS