Scramble In Goa For Essentials As Stores Open Amid Lockdown, Say Locals

Some volunteers are helping the state government amid lockdown.

Goa/ New Delhi:

The three-week nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the highly infectious novel coronavirus or COVID-19 has left people in Goa scrambling for essentials. Chaos has been witnessed on the streets after grocery stores were allowed to open three days back with people standing in long queues, waiting for their turn for hours at a time when social distancing is crucial for checking the spread of COVID-19.

On Saturday, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant tweeted an appeal urging people to stay indoors and opt for home-delivery. "We have kept grocery shops open 24X7, but our Govt is promoting home delivery mechanism. We have issued over 2500 volunteer passes. I request everyone to stay at home and opt for home delivery (sic)," Chief Minister said in a tweet.

Locals, however, have complained of shortage of essentials. Some locals who replied to the Chief Minister's post said they were struggling to get basics. "There are NO deliveries happening. All numbers being circulated are either switched off or not responding. You have to stock grocery stores. It's the only option," a user tweeted.

Another one wrote: "Thank you and hope this actually takes off soon. Groceries are still nowhere to be found, helpline numbers inaccessible."

Cops have been accused of using brute force to enforce the lockdown. Paramilitary troops were called in to manage the crowds.

In a video on Twitter, Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said: "In line with thoughts of PM Modi ji, every angle has been taken care of, right from quarantine facilities. We agree there are teething troubles. COVID-19 has taken the world by storm... we in Goa are trying to do our bit to control the spread." 

"I would like to mention there are some villages that have locked down themselves," he added.

This morning, Mr Sawant also tweeted that the state was now providing food for the needy. "We have started providing cooked food for the needy. #GoaFightsCOVID19," the post read. In another post, he said that eCommerce platforms have been allowed to deliver food and grocery. 

A nationwide lockdown was announced by PM Modi on Tuesday to fight COVID-19, which has infected 979 in India. 25 have died and over 80 people have recovered so far.

The flow of essential services has been a concern while state governments have been constantly assuring that supplies and services will be maintained. Many chief ministers have been contemplating home delivery of services to ensure social distancing.