Bhubaneswar: To ensure strict social distancing and isolation to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Odisha has extended the lockdown in the entire State until midnight of April 30, 2020. However, keeping in view critical livelihoods issues, Odisha government has decided to also extend the umbrella of exceptions and come out with revised stipulations for observance by the general public.
The Odisha government has advised people to stay at home and come out only for basic services while strictly following the social distancing guidelines. There shall be complete shutdown in the areas declared as ‘containment zone' or 'buffer zone' by the Health & Family Welfare Department or any other appropriate authority.
While informing about the exceptions and what will remain operational during the second phase of the lockdown, the Special Relief Commissioner of Odisha, Pradeep Jena informed agricultural activities & e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart and Big Basket etc will be allowed to resume their services during this period. Transportation of seeds, movement of tractors will also be allowed during the 2nd phase of the lockdown period. Vegetables will be procured directly from farmer producer organisations. All the cold storages and godowns will be kept open.
Jena informed that in view of the harvesting of Ravi crops and the upcoming Kharif season, the government has decided to exempt farming and irrigation activities. Movement of equipment and vehicles like tractors will be allowed during this time. All the shops related to fertilisers, sales and repair of agricultural equipment will also remain open.
Procurement of paddy by women SHGs will continue and the government has plans to procure fruits and flowers directly from farmers. Similarly procurement of oilseeds and pulses will continue through NAFED and MARKFED. Poultry and seafood processing units and its transportation will be allowed as usual.The government will be allowing marine fishing activities and functioning of fishing harbours, providing a much needed relief for the fishermen community across the Odisha coastline.
Jena said that "All the co-operative banks and LAMPCS will remain open for the farmers to avail loans for the upcoming Kharif season. The programmes under MGNREGA, PMAY, Biju Pucca Ghar and Swachh Bharat will continue too.
The dhabas and restaurants will be allowed to open but only for take-away purposes. The SRC has categorically prohibited eating inside such eateries.
Industrial units, mainly MSME units that ensure workers to remain inside premises while maintaining social distancing norms will be allowed to operate.
Taxi aggregators like OLA and Uber will be allowed to operate only for emergency medical services.
Though, all anganwadi centres in the state have been ordered to shut down, distribution of food items and nutrition support by anganwadi workers at the door steps of children, women and lactating mothers will be exempted.