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Don't stop those involved in essential services: CM

Dont stop those involved in essential services: CM

Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday gave strict directions to the police to ensure that people involved in essential services should in no way get restricted at a time when lockdown has been imposed to check the spread of COVID-19.

This comes after the Centre has announced complete lockdown across the country for 21 days by invoking the National Disaster Management Act 2005 for the first time and eight people are suffering from the disease in the state.

All reports of 46 isolated patients have come negative with no fresh addition to the number of cases in the state.

Directing Officers-in-Charge of all police stations in the state to be more active, Banerjee said: "Necessary measures will be taken if any report of restricting people involved in essential services comes up despite today's (Wednesday) instruction. Officers of all police stations are directed to take steps so that people engaged in the delivery of essential goods and home delivery of food are not stopped. Superintendents of Police, District Magistrates, Block Development Officers and Sub-Divisional Officers have to take responsibility in this connection."

"It has to be considered sensibly that what would happen if essential services didn't function properly," Banerjee said adding that there are even many elderly people for whom home delivery of food and essential commodities is very essential. Passes will be issued by the police for people engaged in the delivery of essential goods and home delivery of food. The same passes will be valid across the state so that they do not face any problem during the inter-state movement.

She also urged the officers to ensure that people transporting vegetables also shouldn't face any trouble. Similarly, farmers busy in their fields should not be disturbed and they also have to maintain a safe distance while working on their agricultural lands.

Without mentioning the incident of a nurse being harassed by her landlord in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak in Salt Lake on Wednesday, the Chief Minister said that the disease should not create a barrier among people. "It should not happen that a doctor, who is working day and night for people risking his or her life, is thrown out of his or her house by the landlord. There should be social distancing but it does not mean isolating mankind," Banerjee said adding that in such a situation one must help each other by informing the local police or BDO.

She also stated the need to circulate newspapers to make people aware of the actual situation and urged that passes should be issued to hawkers as well.

In the same breath, she urged people to maintain a safe distance while visiting market places, banks and ration shops. The Chief Minister also made people understand how to maintain a safe distance while standing in a queue by drawing a sketch on a whiteboard. The state government has also taken a series of steps to avoid gatherings and decided to give the quota of rice of one month to beneficiaries in one go to avoid their repeated visits to ration shops every week. Beneficiaries of social pension holders will also be getting the endowment of two months' at one go.

The state government on Wednesday set up a centrally operated round-the-clock toll-free helpline number 1070 and a landline number 03322143526. Two task forces have been set up on Wednesday — the first to be headed by the Chief Secretary in which there will be all District Magistrates and concerned departments while the other will be of the police headed by the Director-General of Police.

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