Covid lockdown: Free ration for Guwahati wagers
As panic discussions on likely scarcity of essentials, including vegetables, echoed in the living rooms in Guwahati, the Kamrup (metro) district administration announced distribution of free ration to the daily wagers living in the city from Tuesday.
Though the administration has suspended the supply of vegetables in the city temporarily, even flour and dal were missing from the shelves of grocery shops. Loknath Baruah, a grocery store owner, said: “How am I supposed to bring stocks from another part of the city without my vehicle?” The police have restricted movement of private vehicles in the city.
“The government said the vegetable vans would be available in Maligaon. But it did not mention where in Maligaon. It also did not provide any contact details of the person distributing the vegetables or the time of distribution. The government must distribute the essential products ward wise by involving local representatives. The food delivery boys can also be used to reach more areas,” said Prakash Raj Sarma, a local resident.
Commissioner of police, Kamrup (metro), Munna Prasad Gupta, said: “Any essential good supplier’s vehicle is permitted to ply but with necessary documents. It is only sale of vegetables that is on hold at present. If any shopowner is misinformed or confused, he should inform about it immediately. We do not want to witness another scene like Fancy Bazar when people gathered during the lockdown defying the major rule of social distancing.”
The metro district administration, NIC Assam State Centre, has developed online software called “e-Pass for Essential Service” for issuing passes for essential services. Now onwards, the shopkeepers, bank and other essential service holders can apply for vehicle passes from anywhere. The application details can be found at `https://kamrupmetro.assam.gov.in`.
“After a meeting held on Monday, the metro district administration has decided to distribute dry ration to the needy daily wagers, labourers, rickshaw-pullers and many from the financially-backward people here. The drive will begin from Tuesday,” said official sources at the Kamrup (metro) administration.
Sources also said the district administration would soon come up with a mechanism for distributing vegetables in the city too. The state government tried to run vegetable delivery vans in the city but it allegedly did not meet the expectations of local residents due to lack of proper implementation.
However, in some districts, such as Hailakandi, the local administration has ensured the supply of vegetables by providing passes to 25 hawkers to facilitate door-to-door delivery. Hailakandi subdivisional agriculture officer, A.R. Ahmed said, “The hawkers are making door-to-door delivery of vegetables. Information on the availability of vegetables is being shared with the hawkers. Besides passes for 25 hawkers, another 108 hawkers identified by our department will be issued passes by the district administration shortly.”
Retail shops selling groceries and essential food items remained open from 9am to 3pm. PCC general secretary Ranjan Bora, in a letter to the Kamrup (metro) deputy commissioner, said free food items, medicines and other essentials commodity should be provided to the marginalised people.