Govt lifts restriction on supply of groceries and non-essential goods


In a fresh guideline, the Central Govt has relaxed interstate movement of grocery items, including milk collection and distribution during lockdown to curb COVID-19 pandemic.

Grocery and hygiene products such as hand washes, soaps, disinfectants, body wash, shampoos, surface cleaners, detergents and tissue papers, toothpaste/oral care, sanitary pads and diapers, battery cells, chargers will be allowed for transportation across states and union territories or UT.

“Entire supply chain of milk collection and distribution, including its packaging material, is allowed,” said Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said in a letter order to all Chief Secretaries of states and UT governments.

The order allows transportation of goods without the essential and non-essential distinction during the 21-day coronavirus lockdown. Newspaper delivery supply chain is also allowed under print media, added the order.

The govt has further also allowed the use of SDRF (State Disaster Relief Funds) for homeless people stranded due to lockdown measures, and sheltered in the relief camps and other places for providing them food for the containment of Covid-19.

The latest guideline comes after two addendum orders dated March 25 and March 27 regarding govt’s lockdown measure. On March 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced a complete shutdown in the country in the wake of the outbreak of COVID-19.

The panic has hampered e-commerce and delivery of essential goods during the crisis as local authorities and police barred entries of firms including Milkbasket, Dunzo, Swiggy Stores and Grofers, BigBasket.

As per Milkbasket, it had to dump 15,000 litres of milk, and 10,000 kg of vegetables as the company’s staff and vehicles were pushed back from the roads by local police. Till date, COVID-19 cases in the country have grown to over 1000, out of which 27 people have died.

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