New Delhi: The Centre on Thursday (April 15) directed the state governments in the country to ensure smooth and effective supply of essential items amid the COVID-19 restrictions imposed as a measure to contain the spike of infections in India.
The Central government has written to the states and Union Territories authorities to ensure that grocery stores, chemists, pharmaceuticals and grocery warehouses, which are located outside the restricted areas, are operational without any discrepancies in order to ensure that essential supplies, including food items, drugs and hygiene products are maintained.
The Additional Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs, Nidhi Khare, in a letter to the principal secretaries of all the states and UTs, said that due to the sudden spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country, concern has been raised about the availability of essential commodities at fair prices in the country.
“It should also be ensured that prices of all essential supplies are not increased, and they are available at fair prices, unless necessitated by cost enhancement due to raw material prices and exchange rates fluctuations,” she said in her letter.
“Joint teams of food and civil supplies, legal metrology, controller, food safety, health and police may be constituted at state/district levels for effective surveillance and enforcement activities in order to avoid a situation of demand and supply mismatch, hoarding and exorbitant pricing of essential supplies,” the letter added.
Additionally, she directed the states and UTs to undertake publicity and awareness activities as an attempt to sensitise the public at large, so as to mitigate panic buying of essential supplies.
Meanwhile, India recorded a massive spike of 2 lakh new COVID-19 cases taking the total coronavirus count to 1.40 crore, as per the Union Health Ministry on Thursday (April 15, 2021).
India reported 2,00,739 new COVID-19 cases alongside 93,528 recoveries and 1,038 deaths in the last 24 hours. The unprecedented surge in infections has taken the country's active count to 14,71,877.