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Differentiation of goods as essential and non-essential would lead to chaos, Naveen tells Modi

Special Correspondent BHUBANESWAR 26 March 2020 03:09 IST
Updated: 26 March 2020 03:09 IST

Many people face difficulties in procuring essential items in Odisha

With the Odisha police strictly enforcing the 21-day-long lockdown on the first day on Wednesday to check the spread of the COVID-19, a large number of people faced difficulties in procuring essential items across the State.

With reports of scarcity of essential goods pouring in from various districts, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that differentiation of goods as essential and non-essential would lead to discretion, corruption and dislocation at checkpost level. “It may lead to chaos and affect the movement of essential goods as well,” he said.

In fact, the shortage of essential goods had arisen in Odisha since the State government had ordered lockdown in five districts and eight urban centres from March 22, the day janata curfew was observed across the country.

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Mr. Patnaik pointed out that there were “long queues extending to few kms at the inter-State borders”. “I am sharing this from our experience in handling natural disasters — whenever we have made a differentiation between essential and non-essential goods, the overall goods movement, especially of essential goods, gets affected,” he said.

Mr. Patnaik suggested that movement of goods may be permitted seamlessly across the country without any differentiation to avoid clogging which may adversely impact supply of essential goods.

On the other hand, in order to augment the health work force, the State government advertised to engage qualified specialists, MBBS doctors, staff nurses and other paramedics to serve the people on short term contract for three months.

The State government announced to pay salary of four months in advance to all doctors, nurses and paramedical staff in appreciation of the risk being taken by them to fight the pandemic.

The government informed that of the 133 samples sent for COVID-19 examination, reports of 129 samples had been received. The number of persons found to be positive continued to remain two.

So far, the State government has recorded arrival of 4,015 persons from abroad. More than 78,000 people working in other States have also returned to their homes in various districts and they have been advised to stay inside their homes.

As people and companies continued to donate to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for COVID-19, the State-owned Odisha Mining Corporation donated ₹500 crore on Wednesday to help the government cope with the situation.

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