Goa mulls volunteer service for home delivery of essential goods


Panaji, March 25 : The Goa government is mulling a volunteer service for delivery of essential goods during the 21-day lockdown ordered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said on Wednesday. Sawant, while urging people not to panic, also said that fair price shops have been identified by the state administration as the agencies which will conduct delivery of essential supplies of food grains, sugar and oil, even as the Chief Minister urged people living in urban areas to have patience. "We are calling for volunteers who can help deliver essential services to those who need them. Volunteers can register themselves with the local police stations, where they will be screened and their travel history will be recorded," Sawant told a press conference in Panaji on Wednesday. "Fair price shops can contact the respective offices of the Deputy Collector and register themselves for the free delivery system. All essential goods will be stocked with them and distributed to people through volunteers after pre-booking," Sawant said. Earlier today, the 100 per cent lockdown created panic in Goa and incidents on police action against people who thronged grocery and chemist stores in Candolim as well as in Merces near Panaji, were reported in the North Goa district. Delivery of newspapers was also hit on account of the curfew throughout the state. The panic began as people thronged food stores as these are kept exempt from the lockdown. Sawant said the curfew was essential to break the coronavirus infection chain and urged people to obey the curfew and that access to essential goods would only be via home delivery. "Many are moving around on scooters. This not the time to step out of the house," Sawant told reporters. The Chief Minister also said those who were instructed to be in home-quarantine, should stay put and those who violate the directive could even be quarantined in prison. "Those under home-quarantine and are moving about will be punished. The person will either be quarantined in a government facility or even in a quarantine cell at the Colvale central prison," warned Sawant, adding that a special magistrate has been appointed for every sub-district to check and ensure that those instructed to be in home quarantine, stay put at home. The Opposition has, however, urged the Chief Minister to tweak the proposed essential goods dissemination system to allow for stores to be opened at fixed times to avoid panic. /IANS


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