Keeping in view the senior citizens in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday asked police officials to allow home delivery of groceries and essential items during the lockdown that was put in place to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“Home delivery of all essential items to continue, all Police stations are being asked to allow this, do not stop it. SPs (superintendent of Police), DMs (District Magistrate), BDOs (Block Development Officer) have to take responsibility. Many senior citizens are there. Do not stop home delivery. Contact the local Police or Lal Bazaar,” said Banerjee.
This comes after reports began circulating in the last few days that home delivery personnel were being prevented from reaching various destinations by the Police.
Stores such as Spencers and Big Bazaar have given out numbers at various locations for home delivery options.
Mamata stressed that there was no scarcity of food as people were out on the streets resorting to panic buying. With social distancing being the new norm, Mamata also said people should not crowd together while buying essential items. She also appealed to people not to resort to boycotting anyone working in the healthcare sector.
“There should be social distancing but it does not mean isolating mankind. If a doctor is working closely for COVID-19, but the landlord says he won’t allow him in the house, this should not happen. I do not want to hear this. There should be no social boycott. If anyone is getting fever, call the local Police station, they will take steps. Do not do any social boycott,” said Mamata.
The West Bengal Chief Minister also announced that night shelters will be open for the homeless and poor people, where civic authorities and Police will reach food. Community kitchens have also started functioning.
Essential services like water and electricity and that workers related to these services will not be stopped, including disaster management services. The state government has also arranged for guesthouse and hotels for healthcare staff close to hospitals.
A helpline number across the state has been announced (1070 toll free number. Land line No. 033 22143526)
While state governments across the country are working in tandem with the Centre, Mamata said West Bengal has no received any material from the Centre as when the lockdown announcement was made, it was too late. However, material like gloves, masks and sanitizers have been ordered.
The West Bengal Chief Minister also gave out bank account details if corporates and individuals want to donate funds. Mamata also said that she will review the situation on 31st March and that the lockdown could be relaxed accordingly.