Punjab govt decides to distribute 10 lakh ration packets

Chandigarh, Mar 26 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh ordered officials on Thursday to immediately distribute 10 lakh packets of dry ration, containing flour, dal and sugar, among the poor people working in the unorganised sector, such as the daily-wage earners.

Singh said the economic package announced by the central government was a welcome initiative, but unfortunately no immediate relief was provided to the people working in the unorganised sector who had been hit hard by the curfew/lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The chief minister ordered officials to make the ration packets, containing 10kg wheat flour, 2kg 'dal' and 2kg sugar, available at the offices of the deputy commissioners for those who do not get covered under the door-to-door distribution system, according to a government statement.

Separately, during a meeting between Congress president Sonia Gandhi and chief ministers of party-led states via a video link, Singh said all efforts were being made to reach out to the poor in Punjab.

However, many people in Punjab and UT Chandigarh continued to face difficulties in getting essential items such as milk, vegetables and medicines at their doorsteps. People complained that the phone numbers announced by authorities to contact suppliers remained non-responsive.

Many asked when the ATMs would reopen as they would be soon run out of cash.

Chandigarh administration said it has arranged three mobile ATMs and distributed food packets.

Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore and his adviser Manoj Parida stepped out into the city to check arrangements.

In Mohali, the district administration roped in neighbourhood shops, big retailers and e-commerce chains to supply essential commodities to residents at their homes. It also ordered that all the cold storage facilities be opened till April 10 to store potatoes as the harvesting of the crop was underway.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Truck Operators Association president Happy Sandhu sought the chief minister's intervention to allow loaded trucks stranded in other states because of the lockdown to reach their destinations.

Punjab and Chandigarh have imposed a curfew to check the spread of the virus. PTI CHS VSD ABH ABH