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MHA asks states to check rumours about shortage of food, essential commodities

In the wake of the 21-day lockdown, the Union Home Ministry has asked state governments to check the spread of rumours about 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.

“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.

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 movement of people, but not to that of essential goods,” it said.

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