No curbs on essential goods: Centre-THE HINDU-25-03-2020


The Ministry of Home Affairs issued a slew of guidelines to be followed by the States to contain COVID-19 and asked all “enforcement authorities to note that these strict restrictions fundamentally relate to the movement of people, but not to that of essential goods.

States will act against those violating measures, will send a daily report to Union government.

The Ministry of Home Affairs said all commercial and private establishments shall be closed, except “ration shops , dealing with food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy and milk booths, meat and fish, animal fodder. ” “However, district authorities may encourage and facilitate home delivery to minimise the movement of individuals outside their homes,” the guidelines said. The Ministry said “delivery of all essential goods, including food, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment through e-commerce” would be allowed. In another letter addressed to the Chief Secretaries, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla asked the States to send daily reports on the implementation of the strict measures as “lack of uniformity in the measures adopted as well as their implementation may not serve the purpose of containing the spread of the virus.

” The guidelines were similar to the measures being taken by the States. According to the guidelines, the district magistrates will deploy executive magistrates as “Incident Commanders” in the respective local jurisdictions for the enforcement of the 21-day lockdown as announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The guidelines said offices of the government of India, its autonomous subordinate offices and public corporations shall remain closed. It said hotels, homestay, lodges and motels, which are accommodating tourists and persons stranded because of the lockdown, medical and emergency staff, air and sea crew and establishments used/earmarked for quarantine shall remain open.

“All persons who have arrived in India after February 15, 2020, and all such persons who have been directed by health care personnel to remain under strict home/institutional quarantine for a period as decided by local health authorities, failing which they will be liable to legal action under Section 188 of the IPC,” the Ministry said.

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