Coronavirus outbreak: You will get your food and milk, says government

Updated: 25 March, 2020 09:07 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

Food and Civil Supplies Minister Chhagan Bhujbal says there is no shortage of supplies and the state will ensure the poor get it

People line up outside a grocery shop in Borivli to stock up on supplies on Wednesday. Pic/Nimesh Dave
People line up outside a grocery shop in Borivli to stock up on supplies on Wednesday. Pic/Nimesh Dave

Amid the ongoing lockdown, the supply of essential commodities is a major concern. Maharashtra's Food and Civil Supplies Minister Chhagan Bhujbal told mid-day that the state has enough stock to last for at least six months. This is especially for the Public Distribution System (PDS). He added that the non-PDS stock is available in large quantities. Excerpts from the tele-interview:

There is a fear of food shortage among people.
There is no shortage of food and grains in the government and private warehouses. The stock should last for six months. We have told PDS vendors to procure two months' stock in one go. Since the transport of essential commodities has not been barred, we will ensure that supplies reach their destinations. We are in touch with private parties too.

Chhagan Bhujbal
Chhagan Bhujbal

But APMC is closed. How will people buy essentials? And how will the government ease the supply?
The government did not tell APMC, other market yards or weekly markets in villages to close. They shut on their own despite our request that they operate by following the social-distancing protocol and ask customers to do the same. We have also requested vendors to go to various places and sell their produce. Vendors with produce meant for sale won't be stopped at district borders.
We have started taking steps to make all essential produce available. The parallel set-up will be in place gradually based on COVID-19's day-to-day transmission progression.

How will people go out amid a curfew?
Who says people cannot go out during the curfew? Section 144 bars the assembly of more than four people without any purpose. But if one has to buy essentials, s/he will be allowed to visit shops.

'Display company name on vehicles carrying supplies'

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray directed that all vehicles carrying essential commodities display the name of the company and the commodity they are transporting and that the employees carry identity cards. Police have been asked to allow such vehicles to travel inter-state and intra-state.

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First Published: 25 March, 2020 07:05 IST

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