The Punjab Government on Monday vehemently refuted the statement given by Ashok Chavan, PWD Minister, Maharastra in which he claimed that the drivers from Punjab might have infected the pilgrims from Nanded Sahib.
In a press statement Razia Sultana, Transport Minister, Punjab dubbed the statement of Ashok Chavan as misleading and bereft of facts.
Razia Sultana rejected the statement of the Maharastra PWD Minister by saying that a person holding a constitutional post must not act irresponsibly and give any statement without verifying the facts. Sultana disclosed that actually the first batch of 31 vehicles (20 buses and 11 Tempo Travelers) which ferried 860 pilgrims from Sri Nanded Sahib to Punjab were all Maharashtra Vehicles with Maharashtra crew. She said that the first 3 groups of pilgrims which came via private buses were arranged locally from Sri Nanded Sahib.
She said that 1st batch of 7 buses sent by Takhat Sri Hazoor Sahib Trust started its journey for Punjab at the night of April 23. She disclosed that 2nd batch of 11 Tempo Travelers started moving to Punjab on April 24 late night and reached Punjab on April 26 at late night. Similarly 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, these buses reached Punjab on April 27 late night and in early morning on April 28.
Razia Sultana further disclosed that Punjab Government’s buses left from Punjab to Sri Nanded Sahib on April 25 and reached there early morning on April 27. She said that these buses started their journey back to Punjab at night on April 27 and started reaching Bathinda on April 29 afternoon onwards till April 30 early morning.
Razia said, “It is a matter of fact that few private vehicles had left Sri Nanded Sahib even before the buses started bringing the pilgrims and the passengers who traveled in these private vehicles have tested positive including one of the drivers belonging to Nanded.”
“It is pertinent to mention that Ashok Chavan, PWD Minister of Maharashtra Government in its interview given to some media platforms had claimed that the possibility of the Punjab drivers, who had ferried pilgrims from a Gurdwara in Nanded in Maharashtra to Punjab in buses, spreading the coronavirus infection among them could not be ruled out,” Razia added.