Tami Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami today announced a Rs 3,280 crore-relief package in the assembly this morning, hours before a complete lockdown is enforced in the southern state - as a part of nationwide restrictions - to fight coronavirus or COVID-19. The state has so far reported 15 cases of COVID-19 as the number of cases of the highly contagious illness across India continue to rise.
All rice ration card holders in the state would receive Rs 1,000, which they can avail at the ration shops on designated days and time. This was to help in managing crowd, according to officials. They would be given a free supply of a specified quantity of rice, oil, sugar and pulses free of cost in April.
Those who do not want the free supply can register online or on mobile map. It's not yet cleared, however, how will they avail the cash dole.
Families of construction workers auto drivers would get a relief of Rs 1,000 along with 15 kg of rice, 1 kg of dal and 1 kg of oil.
The state-run Amma canteens - that supply food at subsidised prices - would also be remain functional.
The Chief Minister said the Chennai Corporation Commissioner has been directed to set up community kitchens in the state capital to serve hygienic food for those lacking access to basics.
Food would be delivered for the elderly at the anganwadis.
Registered roadside vendors would get an additional Rs 1,000 relief. Those who were engaged under the Mahathma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme would get wages for two days.
However, not everyone is happy with the announcements..
Kannagi, who works as a domestic help, says she is disappointed. "How will this 1,000 rupees help my family. For this month, the families where I work have agreed to pay salary. But if this (lockdown) continues, I doubt if everyone would continue to pay. And why can't they transfer the cash to our account?" she asked
Babu, a driver with Ola, added: "This month I'm missing my monthly instalments as not much income over the last one week. Bank will pressurise me. How will I pay rent ? How will I eat? I don't have a ration card yet. It's a nightmare".
However Partheeban, a daily wager said: "I am happy. They give us something to keep us afloat."
Buses, trains, autos and cabs would be off during the lockdown except for emergencies. Restaurants can only give takeaways but dining is prohibited.
Food agregators including SWIGGY, Zomato and Uber Eats would not operate. However shops selling food items including groceries, fruits, vegetable, fish, meat besides banks, ATMs, courts will function.