Gujarat CM Vijaybhai Rupani announce free foodgrains for poor during lockdown

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Gandhinagar: In the wake of 21-day countrywide lockdown to check global threat from novel Coronavirus Covid-19, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani today announced free distribution of foodgrains system to ensure that no poor and Antyodaya families and destitutes goes to bed hungry.

Giving details of the elaborate system, Chief Minister’s Secretary Ashwini Kumar said that 17,000-odd government recognised fair price shops in the state will distribute free-of-cost wheat, rice, pulses, sugar and salt to 3.25 crore people in 66 families holding Antyodaya and Ration Cards from April 1, 2020.

Giving details in this reference, Mr. Ashwini Kumar, Secretary to the Chief Minister, said that from the view point of public health, the Chief Minister has instructed to the administration and traders to maintain social distancing during the distributions of essential food-grain supplies.

For the smooth and easy supply of food-grains and avoiding crowding, the Chief Minister also suggested of setting up a four-member committee in rural areas and a three-member committee in urban areas. Thus, in rural areas the committee would be consisting of teacher, talati or gram sevak and home guard or police and local leader. Similarly, in urban areas the committee would be consisting of teacher, representative of NGOs and police.

Mr. Ashwini Kumar further stated that the Chief Minister has also given guidelines that the traders of every government approved ration shop have been given database of mobile numbers of beneficiary customers, therefore, using it every beneficiary should be called and be given specific time in advance, in a batch of 25 customers, for collecting the food-grains. These guidelines should be implemented strictly as the deadly COVID-19 is transmitting through human crowding and human-to-human contacts.

In the presently prevalent situation of lockdown, to provide food-grains to the labourers who have arrived in Gujarat in search of works for earning bread and butter, poor and homeless people, the Chief Minister has adopted humanly approach for them. Giving details in this reference, Mr. Ashwini Kumar said that under the ‘Aann-Brahm Scheme’ such families would be given food-grains from the government approved ration shops from April 4. A list of such individuals and families has been prepared by the each concerned district administration. For uninterrupted and smooth availability of all kinds of flours to the citizens, every district administration has been instructed to allow opening and running flour-mills and shops, he added.

In the present scenario to prevent return migration of the labourers, who have arrived in Gujarat from other states, the Chief Minister has made special allocation of Rs. 40 crore from the SDRF to build ‘Shelter – Relief Camp Shed’ at various places across Gujarat to provide shelters and foods and other basic amenities to such people. For building such sheds an allocation of Rs. 3-Cr to Ahmedabad, Rs. 2.5-Cr to Surat, Rs. 2-Cr each to Vadodara, Rajkot, and Gandhinagar, and Rs. 1-Cr to other districts has been made.

At present, sufficient procurements of essential commodities, milk, vegetables have been made in the state. On Tuesday, 45.74 lakh litre of milk was distributed across the state. 118,520 quintals of vegetables, 17,707 quintals of fruits, 30,674 quintals of potatoes, 32,804 quintals of onions, 8,792 quintals of tomatoes, and 46,249 quintals of other green-vegetables have arrived in the markets of the state.

In addition to these, so far, the state administration in coordination with the NGOs have distributed 12.59 lakh food-packets to senior citizens, helpless and living in isolation, and homeless people living across Gujarat.

The help services for the citizens who are in distress – state level helpline number 1070 and district level helpline number 1077 – so far in total have received 9,004 calls. Of them, 1,561 and 7,443 calls were received, respectively, by helpline number 1070 and 1077, Mr. Ashwini Kumar added.

The press conference was also attended by Mr. Mohammed Shahid, Secretary, Food and Civil Supply Department.

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