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Civil supplies ministry urges states to ensure no shortage of supplies
Thursday, 26 March, 2020, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi
While reviewing the availability of essential commodities across different states, the Ministry of Food and Civil Supplies has advised the states to ensure that there is no shortage of essential supplies, especially in areas where prohibitory orders are in force due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The Department of Civil Supplies informed that the Centre had issued orders that the states can lift foodgrain supplies for up to six months and pass on to retailers for the further disposal to the public. 

Further, the Government has announced supplies of food grains to states for three months in credit from the Food Corporation of India (FCI). 

It has directed the states to ensure adequate supply of foodgrains to the public and financially assist the state governments. The department of expenditure has agreed to the department of public distribution’s proposal that foodgrains for three months can be lifted by the state governments on credit from FCI. 

Pawan Agarwal, secretary, consumer affairs, food and civil supplies, while chairing a meeting with the state government officials recently, has asked them to constantly monitor prices of commodities under the Essential Commodities Act. 

Senior officers from Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Daman, Goa, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab and Uttarakhand participated in the meeting took place via video conference. 

State representatives informed the secretary that the states are not facing supplies shortage including that of fruits, vegetables and milk and have adequate stocks. 

However, Kerala’s civil supplies director requested that since the state does not produce foodgrains, it may be ensured that truck movements carrying EC (essential commodities) stocks are allowed from other states that have enforced travel restrictions. 
Meanwhile, states were advised by the Union Government that the transport of essential supplies, including food and hygiene products, across the states and UTs (Union Territories) must be maintained. 
Agarwal asked the states, particularly Maharashtra, to ensure that couriers of e-commerce platforms are allowed to operate in big cities, where restrictions on movement are in place. 
 
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