Coronavirus curfew in Punjab: No flour, pulses, oil, say Mohali vendors; residents cry foul
A list of authorised neighbourhood shops with contact numbers was published on Mohali administration’s website
Though the district administration had assured residents of regular door-to-door supply of food, medicines and milk by circulating the contact numbers of designated shops, the distributors are either not responding to the calls or claiming that wheat flour, pulses and edible oil are unavailable, leaving the residents in the lurch.
A list of authorised neighbourhood shops with contact numbers was published on Mohali administration’s website www.sasnagar.nic.in.
On Thursday morning, most of the grocery shops were found open with half shutters down and people queued up in front of them, which were later closed by 9am. Some of the shopkeepers complained they did not receive distribution passes from the administration.
CL Garg, president of the Confederation of Greater Mohali Residents’ Welfare Associations, the apex body of the 65 RWAs, said there is gross mismanagement on the part of the administration. “Shopkeepers are not taking calls and even refusing to supply flour, pulses and edible oil citing unavailability.”
‘GOODS BEING HOARDED’
At some places on Thursday, some residents got into arguments over the shortage. “I called up more than 10 grocery shops and the shopkeepers claimed there was no wheat flour available. Is it possible? They are hoarding stocks to sell at a higher price,” alleged Pinky Kumari, 40, a resident of Sector 80, Mohali.
One of the shopkeepers in Phase 11 said, “Wheat flour and pulses are not being supplied from the backend, so we are helpless. Hopefully the issue will be resolved in a day or two.”
Additional deputy commissioner (ADC), Mohali, Aashika Jain, said, “We met with the shopkeepers and they have assured us a smooth supply for the next five days. There was some problem with backend supply, but we are sorting it out. It is not possible that shopkeepers ran out of stock in just one day and it seems they are hoarding. If so, strict action will be taken against them.”
On passes not being issued to some vendors, she said those who are left will be issued passes by Friday.
MOHALI PERMITS MOVEMENT OF SELECT VEHICLES
To ensure continued supply of essential goods and services during the curfew, the Mohali administration has permitted unhindered movement of select vehicles. These include vehicles engaged in/carrying food items such as vegetables, groceries, eggs, meat, green and dry fodder for animals, and poultry, piggery feed.
Besides ATM cash vans, LPG delivery vehicles,and oil tankers, hawkers and cart-pullers selling essentials are also allowed. Farmers/farm labour going to work in fields are permitted movement. Social distancing has been advised with assembly of no more than five persons. The department of home affairs, Punjab, has already granted permission to Mohali administration to only allow such vehicles with maximum two persons per vehicle.
MOHALI ADMN RELAXES CURFEW FOR FARMERS
Amid the outbreak of coronavirus, district magistrate (DM) Girish Dayalan has ordered relaxation in curfew to let farmers carry crops to cold storage facilities.
In a press release issued on Thursday, the DM stated, “It has been brought to the notice of the district administration that the farmers are engaged in digging of potatoes at present. After digging, the process of grading begins and then the crop is stored in various cities. Thus, economic interests of a vast section of people are based on the process.”
In view of the same, Dayalan has ordered that all the cold stores in the district would be kept open till April 10 for storing the farmers’ produce. However, owners of the cold stores have to strictly comply to the instructions issued at regular intervals by the Union and Punjab governments besides the office of the DM.
MAXIMUM 10 LABOURERS ALLOWED
The facility owners have been told to maintain social distancing up to a minimum of 1.5-2 metres. “In any case, during the loading, unloading and grading processes, more than 10 labourers will not be allowed to gather at one place,” Dayalan’s orders read.
Meanwhile, the farmers have been directed to carry their identity proofs such as voter ID, Aadhaar card or driving licence while venturing out to transport their goods.