Goa CM announces home delivery of essential goods

COVID-19 curfew Day 1: Amid panic, Goa CM Pramod Sawant announces home delivery of essential goods

Amid overall panic over non-availability of essential food supplies, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Wednesday said, that his government was looking to start a home delivery mechanism which would deliver food and other essential items to people’s homes, while making a public call for volunteers to sign up for the state government’s home delivery apparatus during the ongoing 21-day curfew.

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Sawant, who addressed the media on Wednesday, also said that the government’s fair price shops would be essential to its home delivery plans while refusing to relax the curfew which could enable people to access grocery stores and other convenience stores in order to stock up during the prolonged lock-down period.

The Opposition has accused Sawant of confusing the people with contradictory announcements, which led to panic on Wednesday morning, with the police hitting even people queuing up in front of pharmacies and grocery stores in populated areas in North Goa, which have been exempted in the state government’s list of services that are exempted from the curfew.

“From now on, ration shops will be used for the home delivery of goods. We are working out a mechanism. Ration shop owners should get in touch with the local Deputy Collector to start the service and they will be given curfew passes to ensure delivery to their locality,” Sawant said.

The Chief Minister also announced the setting up of a special volunteer force, which he said, would help with the delivery of essential goods to homes, instead of people visiting nearby stores to buy essential items for their need and increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19.

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“I give a call to people of Goa to serve as volunteers in the delivery service. They will be screened, their travel history recorded and special passes will be issued to them to help them deliver goods to people's homes. Any misuse of the facility by volunteers will result in action,” Sawant said.

The Chief Minister also said that the 21-day curfew which was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday would be followed in-toto and urged people who were skipping their home quarantine to stay at home, even threatening them with arrest.

“Those under home-quarantine and are moving about will be punished. The person will either be quarantined in a government facility or even in a quarantine cell at the Colvale central prison. We have appointed special magistrates for every taluk, who will be responsible for tracking down of those who are under house quarantine,” the Chief Minister said.

The Opposition has however said that Sawant’s directives have created panic in Goa.

“The Chief Minister has failed on the action plan. The ground reality is people are confused with the contradictory statements. Basic essential commodities are not available. He should stay at home and let the Chief Secretary take charge,” state Congress president Girish Chodankar said.

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