Goa calls in CRPF, CM says ‘given free hand to enforce lockdown’

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Goa CM Pramod Sawant said the CRPF were to strengthen the existing force and act against those who violate the “100 per cent lockdown rule of the state”. (File Photo)

Two battalions of Central Reserve Police Force will now man Goa streets, with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant saying “they have been given a free hand. Don’t come complaining later”. With Goa still struggling to streamline the food delivery system, people in Goa continued to step out to fetch food and other eatables. The government insisted that they remain indoors, assuring that the delivery system will begin soon.

“I had requested Home Minister Amit Shah for additional force and he sanctioned the same yesterday and sent platoons. Now you will see these CRPF men spread across villages and towns,” Sawant said at a press meet Saturday. “They will act seriously against those found roaming outside. They will block these kinds of people, and discipline those who breach the Laxman Rekha and do not follow the rules.”

Sawant said around 798 Goans remain in quarantine and repeatedly appealed to everyone to remain indoors. “Yesterday I saw mangoes had arrived in the market and people were thronging the vehicles. It’s not safe to crowd around these trucks which have fish and mangoes. It’s okay if you miss the entire mango season. You may leave home to buy mango but bring coronavirus back home and risk the lives of your families,” he added.

He said the CRPF were to strengthen the existing force and act against those who violate the “100 per cent lockdown rule of the state”.

Sawant assured that the food delivery channels would be activated soon as 2,500 volunteers have been taken on board and given cards. He also said cooked food packets are reaching migrants and labourers stranded in the state. “I am told by the department that the kitchens have started dispersing the food."

According to government officials, while they had earlier sought help from external agencies, including gurdwaras, they are now utilising the services of anganwadi staff and using the kitchens used for mid- day meal to serve the labourers and migrants.” We have enough stocks as the borders are now open for trucks. If you saw shops closed at several places, it is because they are busy packaging the produce and they will soon be functional. There is no need to panic.”

Sawant also added that the trial tests for COVID-19 have taken place and that the state will now begin its own testing.