Meghalaya cabinet
File photo of Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma and other ministers at a cabinet meeting in Shillong.

The Meghalaya Cabinet on Wednesday decided that the grocery shops will remain open from March 27

The decision comes after discussion at the State Cabinet meeting on the delivery mechanism of all essential commodities amid lockdown across the country.

Countrywide 21-day lockdown from March 24 midnight was declared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at 8 pm on Tuesday as a preventive measure to contain the spread of coronavirus.

The Cabinet has worked out measures to provide delivery of essential commodities in rural as well as urban areas, while the deputy commissioners have been asked to chalk out the plan.

Addressing the media after the Cabinet meeting, deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong said there is no shortage of rice and distribution to retailers has already taken place in the entire state.

Tynsong informed that distribution of foodgrains for March has been made available in the districts while for April the allotment will be released in the first week.

“There is no shortage of rice in the state and the government decided today to move again to the FCI and ensure that the allotment of May and June happens,” he said.

“The food and civil supply department is on the job and I’m sure the allotment of May and June is also going to happen well in advance,” he added.

Deputy chief minister Tynsong assured the citizens that stock for the next three months is available.

Apart from supply through PDS, the government also informed its citizens that through the open market also the supplies of essential commodities will be made available.

“We have taken the decision today that as far as open market is concerned government will make sure that the transportation of the open market items does not stop,” the deputy chief minister informed.

He informed that instruction has been given to the chief secretary to take up the matter with his counterpart in Punjab and Haryana for ensuring supply and transportation of rice and other essential commodities for open market from those states without any hindrances.

The deputy chief minister reiterated that shortage of food items will not be there in the state while stating that government is working on a mechanism to ensure that commodities reach the respective villages in the state.

The Cabinet also discussed measures for distribution in the rural and urban areas of the state.

He informed that grocery shops will be allowed to be opened in different localities from March 27.

The deputy commissioners of respective districts have been asked to work out modalities in consultation with local administration and communities.

“Whether the shops will be open in the morning or evening, the respective districts will take the call,” the deputy CM added.

On the 21-day lockdown, the deputy chief minister said, “20-25 per cent population are still taking the matter easily, which should not be the case.”

He said the Cabinet decided to urge the public to observe complete lockdown because it is in the interest of the public.

“We should be convinced to stay home safely. Coronavirus has affected the whole world but we are thankful to God that there is no positive case detected so far in the state. But we should not be complacent anything may happen, so, therefore, stay away,” the deputy CM said.

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