Bhubaneswar: With an all-out war against coronavirus on globally, Odisha government is trying all its best to contain spread of the disease through several measures including 21-day lockdown which is currently in force across the State. However, there is an unprecedented rush among people to stock up essential commodities in the wake of 21-day lockdown in the State.
Keeping this in view, Odisha government has decided to revise the timing of shops selling essential commodities across the State.
In a letter to all district Collectors, District Magistrates and Commissioners of all Municipal Corporations, Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy has directed to facilitate availability of grocery and other daily items for people in all the urban local bodies during the lockdown period.
The State government has asked district Collectors to increase the sale timing in shops by extending it to night hours to reduce congestion. Clear instructions have been issued to shift large markets which usually see huge turnout of traders and buyers to open spaces, playgrounds and roads. The concerned district administration officials will ensure that circles/ squares are drawn before each shop to enforce social distancing in the queue system.
“It has become imperative on our part to ensure the availability of groceries and other daily needs of the people like milk, vegetables etc with ease coupled with the requirement of maintaining social distancing,” Tripathy stated in the letter.
The Chief Secretary has also directed officials to take the following actions immediately:
• Home delivery of groceries/ vegetables/ fruits/ medicines have to be facilitated in all cities and towns. Some of the major cities have engaged with the traders' bodies and notified home delivery charges.
• Efforts may be made to facilitate conversion of mobile eatery vans to mobile grocery/ vegetable/ fruits vans, wherever possible.
• The WSHGs/ ALFs may be roped in by way of supply of non-mechanised vehicles/ tri-cycles/ push carts etc. for selling of groceries/ vegetables/ fruits etc. in their respective areas duly following social distancing norms.
It is pertinent to mention here that three coronavirus positive cases have been reported in Odisha with one more sample testing positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. All the three Coronavirus positive cases reported in the State so far are from Bhubaneswar, the department of State Health & Family Welfare said.
The first COVID-19 confirmed case in Odisha was reported on March 16 after a 33-year-old youth from Bhubaneswar who had a travel history to Italy tested positive for the virus.
Three days later on March 19, Odisha reported its second case of COVID-19 after a youth who had returned from the UK tested positive during a check-up at the isolation ward of AIIMS Bhubaneswar.