In wake of the situation arising from the coronavirus pandemic, Haryana has suffered a revenue loss of nearly Rs 3000 crore this month and the figure is set to double next month, Chief Minister M L Khattar said on Tuesday.
He was speaking in a televised address to the people of the state, apprising them of the unfolding situation and the steps which the government was taking to combat it.
"Although Haryana is financially better than many other states, but in the present situation, the state has faced a revenue loss of nearly Rs 3000 crore this month and in April estimates are that we will lose revenue of Rs 6000 crore," he said.
He said that Rs 21 crore has been received as donation so far in the recently set up Haryana Covid Relief Fund and he appealed to people to come forward with more donations.
"Many of our MLAs and ministers have pledged to donate their salary of one month, while some of them have said they will donate their basic salary component for the entire year," Khattar said shortly after presiding over a meeting of his Cabinet through video-conferencing to take stock of the present situation.
He said that in the present situation the poor have been the worst hit and added that the state government has set up 437 relief shelters for them, including migrant workers, with a capacity to accommodate 70,000 people, and so far 12,000 are staying there.
Besides the government, volunteers, NGOs, religious and social organisations are pooling efforts to help the sections worst hit by the situation arising in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, he said.
Khattar said that the government has decided to give double ration for April free of cost to BPL and poor families.
"We have, so far, extended financial assistance of Rs 250 crore to 10 lakh of 24 lakh poor families who are registered with the government. We have decided to give Rs 1200 crore per month as financial aide for the poor sections in the present situation," he said.
"In addition to these 24 lakh poor families, families whose monthly income is less than Rs 15,000 or those having land holdings less than five acres, new registration has started for them with effect from March 31 and once registered they too will get a financial assistance of Rs 1,000 per week," he said.
Reaching out to migrant workers, a number of whom recently covered long distances on foot to reach Delhi for onward journey to their hometowns in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Khattar said they don't need to go anywhere as the government has made all arrangements for their stay in the state during the lockdown period.
"They are our brothers, they don't have to worry at all. To extend help to them, we will spend as much money as will be needed and all arrangements have been made for their stay. They have also played and are playing a role in building Haryana over the years," he said.
Khattar once again appealed to farmers to cooperate with the government in this hour of crisis and store their ripened wheat and mustard, which during normal times was supposed to arrive in mandis from April 1 for procurement.
"We have changed procurement date for mustard to April 15 and for wheat to April 20. I, again, request farmers not to hurry by bringing their produce to the mandis, be it mustard, wheat or any other crop. They should try to store as much as they can in their homes.
"We hope this difficulty (lockdown) will end on April 14 but if due to some reason if it goes on for a few more days, cooperation of all of you (farmers) is sought Our big aim is to defeat coronavirus and kindly bear with us in difficult times," he said.
The chief minister said government has given exemption to many activities related to agriculture, allowing farmers to reap their produce and store it without any difficulty.
Khattar, meanwhile, detailed the steps to contain coronavirus that include completely sealing the inter-state and inter-district borders during the lockdown and ensuring items of essential need reach people.
He also said dedicated hospitals for COVID-19 are being set up. "We have permission for setting up five private labs for testing. Besides, in addition to two testing facilities in government sector, permission has been sought from THE Centre to set up more such labs including at Rohtak, Hisar and Panchkula, he said.