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Coronavirus | Goa to home deliver essential supplies through volunteers

The usually crowded 18th June Road in Panaji wears a deserted look on day one of national lockdown.

The usually crowded 18th June Road in Panaji wears a deserted look on day one of national lockdown.   | Photo Credit: Atish Pomburfekar

Shops can do only home delivery: Pramod Sawant

A day after it was criticised for not giving adequate time for citizens to stock up on groceries and vegetables, the Goa government on Wednesday said all essential groceries and medicinal supplies would be home delivered to the people by ‘volunteers’ as the movement of individuals and private vehicles remained prohibited across the coastal State.

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Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, following a high-level committee meeting, said shops relating to the sale of food, groceries, fruits, vegetables, dairy and milk booths, meat, fish and animal fodder would be permitted to function only for the purpose of home delivery. “No public or customers will be permitted to enter the shops for purchase. District Collectors will invite applications from interested shops and establishments willing to do home delivery. A maximum of two persons will be permitted for delivery,” Dr. Sawant said.

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Passes to volunteers

A notification said jurisdictional police inspectors would issue passes to volunteers who would carry out the home delivery of goods within a 1 km range. No delivery charges were to be charged, the government order said.

Food helpline

The government also announced the setting up of a food helpline. “Any person or organisation interested in arranging food for the homeless and needy as well those in need of food can contact this helpline. A medical helpline for medicines to senior citizens and divyangs was also established under the Food and Drugs Administration,” the government order said.

The order also gave exemptions to Central and State government employees, sanitation workers, those employed in banks, insurance, telecom, Internet, cable television, e-commerce and allied areas to move around subject to displaying of their identity cards.

Pramod Sawant

Pramod Sawant  


Opposition’s reaction

The Opposition said this was completely opposite to what other States were doing, where stores dealing with essential supplies like vegetables, milk, groceries etc were open to public with social distancing measures observed.

Goa Forward Party president and former Deputy Chief Minister, Vijai Sardesai, said, “National guidelines allow all shops selling essentials like grocery, milk, meat, fish, vegetables to be open. However, it does not apply to Goa. I am alarmed at the way this government is handling its response to COVID-19.” Mr. Sardesai said his party corporators, local leaders and self-help groups would ensure home delivery to residents.

An incident of lathi charge was reported from the capital Panaji on Wednesday. Officials said that despite being told repeatedly, a shopkeeper in Merces was selling items, which resulted in crowding around the shop.

Meanwhile, a Dornier aircraft of the Indian Navy, with a team of four doctors from the Goa State Health department, left for Pune on Wednesday. The medical team led by Dr. Savio Rodrigues, Head of Department, Microbiology, Goa Medical College, will undergo training to set up a COVID-19 test facility at Goa. A request to the Navy for providing air transport was received by Flag Officer Commanding, Goa Area, on March 24. The Navy immediately initiated necessary procedures for the aircraft take off. A few samples of COVID-19 suspects were also carried by the medical team for testing. The medical team is likely to return to Goa on March 27 after the training.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 4:30:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/coronavirus-goa-to-home-deliver-essential-supplies-through-volunteers/article31166680.ece

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