BH CORRESPONDENT, Kolkata: Reacting to reports that the cops were stopping food delivery vehicles and boys, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday asked the police not to do so.
“Starting from home delivery boys to vegetable-sellers who are in the food business, please allow them to function,” Mamata told the police at a press conference on Wednesday, the first day of the countrywide lockdown. The CM also made an appeal to the people of Bengal not to hoard essential item and asked them to refrain from panic buying.
She also said that the government had been receiving complaints that people were shunning those down with fever. “We have to change this mentality. We must help him get medical attention. We cannot boycott the person,” Mamata said, adding that people could get in touch with government officials is they need medical care. “If anyone is ill and cannot get to a shop to buy essentials, please let us knows we will arrange your food, do not worry.”
The chief minister said that the government had set up helplines during this crisis. “If anyone faces any problem, call up the helpline number; you will get help.”
Mamata also instructed her officers to distribute one month’s ration to the people at a time to avoid gathering at ration shops. The allowances under various social pension schemes would also be disbursed so that poor people benefit. With folded hands, she requested all not to crowd at the ration shops and markets. She assured them that the essential commodities will be made available, but the people should maintain social distance. Later, the chief minister explained how to stand in queue in front of the shops on the board with the help of a diagram.
Meanwhile, the transport department has made arrangements for those associated with essential services, Mamata said.
Kolkata police commissioner Anuj Sharma tweeted few photographs where people have been marked where to stand in front of the shops as a rule of social distance.