The Assam government on March 25 said that there was adequate stock of essential commodities in the state, while also urging the citizens to follow the lockdown guidelines strictly as any violation would invite penal action.
Addressing a joint press conference on the first day of 21-day countrywide lockdown to combat spread of COVID 19, Assam chief secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna and director general of Assam police Bhaskarjyoti Mahanta appealed the people to follow all directives of the government to the point.
Krishna said, “This is an extraordinary time and we need extraordinary measures. We need people’s support. There will be no compromise in implementing the lockdown. And if anyone breaks any rules, we will take strong action”.
He informed the situation was reviewed with the deputy commissioners through video conferencing and said, “Regarding food items, we have taken stock. There is no need to be concerned immediately as we have enough stock”.
“We have stock of 3.09 tonnes of rice, which last for three months. We have adequate stock of other items also. Additionally, we shall be receiving 10 MT of lentils and 5000 kgs of sugar within 10 days,” he said.
He further informed that 12 rakes of food grains have been received through railway at Tinsukia on March 25, and another 12 rakes will reach on March 26. Pointing that the guidelines issued by the Centre for the lockdown are being enforced, which classifies several items including vegetables, fish and meat as essential commodities, the chief secretary said provision is being made through the food and civil supply department to route vegetables from source directly to grocery stores.
“For localities which do not have grocery stores nearby, we have asked deputy commissioners to arrange for distribution through vans,” he added.
In case of people stranded on the inter-state borders, Krishna said deputy commissioners have been asked to keep these people in quarantine for 14 days and the state government will bear all expenses.
Referring to reports of medical staff being harassed by apartment societies and landlords, the chief secretary said such offenders will be dealt with strictly and all protection will be given to doctors and all medical staff.
Urging for strict adherence of lockdown norms, DGP Mahanta said, “The steps taken for enforcement by police may appear strict. But we have no other way as we have seen earlier that people do not follow instructions until forced to”.
“Under NDMA Act (which is in force now), a person can be jailed for one year under Non-Bailable provisions. In case of rumour mongering through social media or other means, the offender will be booked not only under IT Act, but also under NDMA Act,” he added.
Mahanta urged workers related with essential services, including media persons, to carry identity cards or authorisation letters at all times.
He further urged the general people not to come out in vehicles for shopping and not to have gathering of more than four persons.
No positive case of COVID 19 has been detected in the state so far.