Centre sets up control room to monitor supply of essential commodities

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The centre on Thursday set up a control room to monitor the issues of internal trade, manufacturing, delivery and logistics after it received complaints about disruptions in the supply of essential commodities during the ongoing nationwide lockdown to stem the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

“In the event of any manufacturing, transporter, distributor, wholesaler or e-commerce companies facing ground level difficulties in transport and distribution of goods or mobilization of resources, the same may be informed to this department,” Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) said in a notification.

DPIIT has launched a dedicated telephone number (011-23062487) and an email ID (controlroom-dpiit@gov.in) for this purpose which will remain functional from 8 am to 6 pm. “The issue reported by various stakeholders through this control room shall be taken up with the concerned state government, district and police authorities and other concerned agencies,” DPIIT said.

DPIIT has already asked state governments to facilitate the functioning of food processing units to maintain uninterrupted supply of essential items as the government enforces the 21-day nationwide lockdown.

“In the wake of precautions being taken by various states for prevention of COVID-19 through lockdowns and various other precautionary measures, it is seen necessary to issue clear instructions from DPIIT (department of promotion of industry and internal trade) to state authorities not to obstruct and call for closure of food processing units, since they manufacture food stuff and to maintain uninterrupted supply for citizens of our country,” DPIIT secretary Guruprasad Mohapatra said in a letter to the chief secretaries of state governments on 23 March.

Mohapatra asked state authorities to allow all workers and operators at retail outlets, pharmacies, manufacturing units to travel to their units in discharge of their responsibilities.

“All grocery, organized retail, including cash and carry, and wholesale stores, chemists and pharmacies, which stock and sell food products, medicines, water, etc., should be allowed to remain open to avoid inconvenience to consumers and to prevent panic buying. Clear advisory (should be issued) to ensure inter-state movement of goods for the food processing industry to ensure uninterrupted movement and supply of goods, and services specifically for e-commerce, food processing, delivery boys and movement of trucks,” Mohapatra added.