MHA Asks States to Check Rumours About Food, Commodities Shortage
File Image of Passengers wear masks as a preventive measure against novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, at Bhubaneswar railway station. 
File Image of Passengers wear masks as a preventive measure against novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, at Bhubaneswar railway station. (Photo: PTI)

MHA Asks States to Check Rumours About Food, Commodities Shortage

In the wake of the 21-day lockdown, the Union Home Ministry, on Wednesday, 25 March, asked state governments to check the spread of rumours about the shortage of food and other essential commodities.

In a communication to chief secretaries and DGPs of all states, the ministry asked them to take action to allay apprehensions and maintain peace and tranquillity, and inform people about the availability of food, medicine, and other essential commodities.

The ministry said that in the wake of the orders issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 (for lockdown), there were possibilities of rumour-mongering, including those about shortage of food and other essential services and commodities.

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"In this context, it is imperative that all state governments and Union Territory administrations take necessary steps to suitably publicise through all available means that food, medical and civil supplies, and other essential services will be maintained and there are adequate supplies available in the country," the communication said.

The ministry also requested the chief secretaries and the DGPs to disseminate information and provisions of the guidelines issued on the measures to be taken during the 21-day lockdown period for containment of COVID-19 epidemic in the country.

MHA Tells Pvt Security Agencies Not to Lay off Guards or Cut Salaries

The Union Home Ministry also asked private security agencies not to lay off guards or deduct their salaries during the 21-day lockdown period.

In a letter to the Central Association of Private Security Industry, CII, FICCI and ASSOCHAM and others, the Home Ministry said India was facing an unprecedented situation arising out of the COVID-19 outbreak.

This has also affected economic activity and it is possible that private security agencies may be impacted due to closure of shops, malls, and other establishments.

“This is the time for the private security industry to adopt a humane approach and protect its workers and staff members from lay-offs and consequent decrease in earnings,” the ministry said in its letter.

"I would, therefore, urge the industry for empathy with its workforce, vital to its functioning, and ensure that these workers continue to be treated on duty and paid accordingly," it added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced the lockdown to combat the outbreak. After Modi's announcement, the Union Home Ministry issued strict guidelines for the enforcement of the nationwide lockdown.

The guidelines listed several services, including government and private offices, that would be out of bounds during the period, while exempting establishments such as hospitals, ration shops, dairies, banks, insurance offices, and print and electronic media.

Delivery of all essential goods, including food, pharmaceuticals, and medical equipment, through e-commerce, has also been exempted from the purview of the lockdown, it said.

"All enforcing authorities to note that these strict restrictions fundamentally relate to the movement of people, but not to that of essential goods," it said.

(An arrangement of two PTI reports)

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