Centre issues SOP for availability of essential goods during lockdown

'Strict restrictions relate to movement of people, not to that of essential goods'

Centre issues SOP for availability of essential goods during lockdown

Locals stand in a queue to collect LPG cylinder during the nationwide lockdown, in wake of coronavirus pandemic, in Howrah, on Thursday, March 26, 2020. PTI

New Delhi, March 26

The Union Home Ministry on Thursday issued Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on availability of essential goods during the lockdown period and asked state governments to ensure smooth functioning of people involved and services.

The ministry said there should be no interruptions in the services of small retail shops, large organised retail stores and e-commerce companies.

In the two-page SOP, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said essential commodities are available to people through small local retail shops, large organised retail stores and e-commerce companies.

The SOP said in order to ensure smooth functioning of these three types of operators, it is important that constituents of the supply chain, are also allowed to operate.

These constituents include suppliers of essential goods, including restaurants supplying home delivery of cooked food items; and facilities for storage of such essential goods which, may be known as warehouse, godown, etc.

It also allowed movement of transporters, drivers, loaders, etc., of essential goods from the place of manufacture to wholesalers or retailers.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said essential commodities are available to people through small local retail shops, large organised retail stores and e-commerce companies

The SOP said such transportation may involve intra-city, inter-city in same state or union territory or inter-state movement of essential goods; and manufacturing units of essential goods, including drugs, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, their raw material and intermediates.

The home secretary said the purpose of the lockdown is to prevent the spread of COVID-19 epidemic by ensuring social distancing while maintaining supply of essential goods, including health infrastructure and home delivery of food.

He said several services were exempted from the lockdown that include ration shops, shops dealing with food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy and milk products, meat and fish, animal fodder, seeds and pesticides and home delivery of these essential goods shall be encouraged.

“It is also provided that delivery of all essential goods including food, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment through e-commerce will remain operational,” the letter said.

Bhalla said those enforcing authorities must note that these strict restrictions fundamentally relate to movement of people, but not to that of essential goods.

“It is therefore, important that availability of essential goods is ensured to relieve the hardship faced by people during the period of lockdown” he said.

The SOP said all facilities in the supply chain of essential goods, whether involved in manufacturing, wholesale or retail of such goods through local stores, large brick and mortar stores or e-commerce companies should be allowed to operate, ensuring strict social distancing.

All such facilities as registered with the state governments or union territories under the shops and establishment registration regime, which can be used to randomly verify the veracity of documents produced.

While warehousing facilities with wholesalers and retailers of essential goods might have non-essential goods, they should not be closed down for the fact that non-essential items are also stored.

The SOP said the retail end of the supply chain shall operate only in essential goods as specified in the orders of the MHA.

They will provide an undertaking to this effect and also allow subsequent audit of their records with a view to ensure compliance.

The employees or persons engaged in the supply chain shall be allowed to commute on the basis of certification issued by the local authorities concerned and these people shall carry a valid photo identity card.

In case of the unorganised sector, persons engaged in supply of essential goods may be allowed based on approval or authorisation issued by local authority.

These commercial entities will ensure that they engage only bare minimum staff to supply essential goods only.

These facilities shall carry out regular health and sanitation check-up of employees engaged and will provide them with proper protective gear, the SOP said.

The state governments shall open a 24x7 control room to register complaints or grievances and share these numbers widely, the SOP added. — PTI

Top Stories

Centre worried lockdown exemptions for farmers not percolating to field level

Centre worried lockdown exemptions for farmers not percolating to field level

More relaxations for agriculture-farming sector, tea industr...

22,000 Tablighi Jamaat members, their contacts identified, quarantined: Govt

22,000 Tablighi Jamaat members, their contacts identified, quarantined: Govt

'Rate of rise in coronavirus cases in India less than other ...

Coronavirus: Punjab announces Rs 50-lakh cover for frontline cops, sanitation workers

Coronavirus: Punjab announces Rs 50-lakh cover for frontline cops, sanitation workers

Finalise security plan for smooth procurement: CM to DGP

India-US to deploy full strength to fight Covid: PM Modi

India-US to deploy full strength to fight Covid: PM Modi

Research institutions from two countries engaged in multinat...

Cities

View All

Two Jamaatis test +ve in Mohali, district count 12

Belong to Kumbhra and Mauli Baidwan, admitted to hospital

Grocery stores in Chandigarh run short of branded stock

Companies, distributors yet to streamline delivery system, a...

19-year-old budding golfer converts backyard into range

Aadil, who won his maiden PGTI title last month, tries innov...

Healthy baby born to Covid-19 positive woman at AIIMS; first such case in Delhi

The baby's mother who was nine-months pregnant had tested po...

Delhi reports 91 new cases in 24 hrs; total rises to 384

CM launches WhatsApp helpline 8800007722 for info on Covid-1...

Bust virus myths via ‘Chai and Why?’

TIFR will interact with people to give them scientific knowl...

Not wearing mask may land you FIR

Police have registered several FIRs under Disaster Managemen...

Shimlapuri patient off ventilator, stable

Health team searches for contacts

Patiala villagers self-isolate

Seal entry and exit points of their area/localities

Mosques inspected

Fear being created by fake video: Patient

Says person shown in clip not me, urges people to follow hea...