New Delhi: The Delhi government has issued directions to all police officers to not harass people engaged in providing essential services in the city while it is observing a lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Following a meeting of the high-level apex committee today, lieutenant governor Anil Baijal and chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said it has been decided that not only will the movement of people engaged in these services be facilitated, officers have the responsibility to ensure that factories and shops dealing with these goods remain well stocked.
Kejriwal said, “Since yesterday we have tried to streamline the process of delivery of essential services like grocery, vegetable and medicines. For people engaged in these services, the owners of shops and their employees, we have started issuing e-passes. These can be procured on Number 1031 by just sending a WhatsApp message. The passes are issued there itself.” The chief minister said all `rehri wallahs’ (cart-pullers), shopkeepers and vendors dealing with essential items can apply here.
He said at the meeting, also attended by the chief secretary and police commissioner and all district magistrates and deputy commissioners of police, it was decided that all sub-divisional magistrates and assistant commissioners of police will ensure that there are adequate stocks of essential items in all the shops, factories and warehouses in their areas.
“Also, an appeal has been issued to all police personnel to allow people taking milk and vegetables without passes to go through. The process of issuing passes will go on but the supply should not be stopped forcefully,” he added.
Kejriwal said the home delivery food chains have been allowed to deliver goods and for that purpose, the identity cards of their delivery personnel will be treated as proof. He also announced that all essential service shops will be allowed to function 24 hours “as we do not want overcrowding to happen”.
On the spread of coronavirus in the city, Kejriwal said overall 36 cases have been reported in the national capital thus far. He said one more case has been added in the last 24 hours.
“However, of these cases 26 came from abroad and so there are only 10 of local transmission,” he said, adding that there was no need to cheer or pat one’s back yet. “It is time to control the virus as we have seen from our experience with other countries that it spreads very fast.” He also appealed to people to stay home and not venture out unless it was absolutely essential.
Kejriwal also noted that some organisations have come forward to say that they would like to provide packed food or cooked food for the poor, and he welcomes them.