NEW DELHI: The Centre has asked states to set up 24×7 control rooms, state and district-level helplines and also appoint nodal officers to ensure unhindered and seamless availability of essential items and services for the general public during the 21-day lockdown to contain Covid-19.
In a communication to chief secretaries and DGPs of all states, the home ministry said that while it is imperative to successfully implement the notified lockdown/restrictions, it is also necessary to ensure unhindered operations of manufacturing, processing, transportation, distribution, storage, trade/ commerce and logistics related to all services and commodities which have been exempted under the various prohibitory orders.
The MHA asked each state and UT to set up a 24×7 control room/office with helplines at the state and district level to address any grievance or undue problems faced by the providers of goods/services including during their interstate movement. The ministry said a nodal officer may be appointed in a state to coordinate with the district administration/police in this matter. This is necessary to en sure continuity of the supply chain for essential commodities, several of which may be of perishable nature, it noted.
The ministry also stressed on the need for laying down a standard operating protocol for unhindered operation of essential services/establishments and commodities, including appointment of nodal officers at inter-state borders, issue of vehicular passes etc.
At the joint briefing with health ministry on Wednesday, joint secretary Punya Salila Srivastava also assured that the government is working with the e-commerce sites on ensuring smooth transportation and delivery of goods ordered online. The ministry said the state helpline facilities may be also made available to ensure adequate protection to essential service providers. from any unwanted stigmatisation by any local person.