The Centre on Thursday wrote to the state governments to ensure smooth supply of essential items amid the restrictions imposed as a measure to contain the spike of Covid-19 cases in the country.
The Central government has asked the states and Union Territories to keep operations of grocery stores, chemists and pharmaceuticals, and grocery warehouses outside the restricted areas going in order to ensure that essential supplies, including food items, drugs and hygiene products, are maintained.
In a letter to the principal secretaries of all the states and UTs, Nidhi Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs, said that due to the sudden spike in the number of Covid cases in the country, concern has been raised about the availability of essential commodities at fair prices.
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, read the letter.
The states/UTs have also been advised to undertake publicity and awareness activities and sensitise the public at large to address their concerns, so as to mitigate panic buying of essential supplies.