There is a plan to deliver essential commodities at people's doorstep and there is no need to panic or go out, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said this evening, minutes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day "curfew-like" lockdown that will come into effect from midnight.
"I would like to assure the 23 crore people of Uttar Pradesh that we have enough stock of essential items like vegetables, milk, medicines etc. For the safety of you and your family don't step out of your houses and maintain social distance," Yogi Adityanath was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
"From tomorrow vegetables, milk, fruits, medicines and other essential commodities will be delivered to your door steps for which we have identified more than 10,000 vehicles. I appeal to you to not go to market to buy essential items," ANI quoted him as saying.
He, however, did not explain how the system would work.
The Chief Minister, who earlier announced a complete lockdown of his state, had earlier promised a monthly amount of Rs 1,000 each to 15 lakh daily wage labourers and 20.37 lakh construction workers across the state via direct benefit transfer "to help them meet their daily needs".
The Chief Minister's assurances came late in the evening as essential items emerged as a major concern of the people and long queues were seen out grocery and medical stores.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made multiple assurances about the availability of essential items. In a series of tweets soon after his address, he said:
My fellow citizens,— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 24, 2020
THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO NEED TO PANIC.
Essential commodities, medicines etc. would be available. Centre and various state governments will work in close coordination to ensure this.
Together, we will fight COVID-19 and create a healthier India.
Another tweet read: "By converging around shops, you are risking the spread of COVID-19. No panic buying please. Please stay indoors. I repeat- Centre and State Governments will ensure all essentials are available".
But people questioned how the government would keep its promise. Over the last four days, as Delhi announced a lockdown, shops of even essential items in some areas had remained shut. Elsewhere, people were discouraged from venturing out of their homes by the police.
Till yesterday, the Delhi Police had filed 100 cases for violation of lockdown. Nearly 450 others were detailed.