The Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday directed all states and union territories to set up a round the clock control room for helping the providers of goods and services during the 21 days of lockdown announced by the Centre to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
"In order to ensure that these provisions are seamlessly available at ground level it would be necessary for each state/UT to set-up a 24*7 control room/office with helplines (at state/district level) to address any grievance or undue problems faced by the providers of goods/services including during inter-state movement," the advisory issued by MHA on Tuesday to Chief Secretaries and police chiefs of all states and union territories read.
The MHA advisory added that a 'Standard operating protocol' (SOP) might be necessary to ensure unhindered operation of the 'essential services/ establishments and commodities including the appointment of nodal officers at inter-state borders, issue of vehicular passes/e passes etc"ALSO READ: Coronavirus LIVE
This comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced a 21-day lockdown in the entire country effective from midnight to deal with the spread of coronavirus, saying that "social distancing" is the only option to deal with the disease, which spreads rapidly.
In a televised address to the nation, Prime Minister Modi said that it is vital to break the chain of the disease and experts have said that at least 21 days are needed for it.
The Prime Minister, who had also addressed the nation last week, said the lockdown has drawn a "Lakshman Rekha" in every home and people should stay indoors for their own protection and for that of their families.
MHA asks states to check rumours about shortage of food, essential commodities In the wake of the 21-day lockdown period, the Union Home Ministry has asked state governments to check the spread of rumours about shortage of food and other essential commodities.
#IndiaFightsCoronavirus Government of India issues Orders prescribing lockdown for containment of #COVIDー19 Epidemic in the country.#CoronaVirusUpdate#StayAtHomeSaveLives@MoHFW_INDIA Press Release https://t.co/6tVcqzCrTA pic.twitter.com/jUuqnz3Avg— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) March 24, 2020
In a communication to chief secretaries and DGPs of all states, the ministry asked them to take action to allay apprehensions and maintain peace and tranquillity, and inform people about the availability of food, medicine and other essential commodities.The ministry said that in the wake of the orders issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 (for lockdown), there were possibilities of rumour-mongering, including those about shortage of food and other essential services and commodities. ALSO READ: Coronavirus in numbers: Latest Covid-19 cases and deaths in India and world "In this context, it is imperative that all state governments and Union Territory administrations take necessary steps to suitably publicise through all available means that food, medical and civil supplies, and other essential services will be maintained and there are adequate supplies available in the country," the communication said. MHA issues strict lockdown guidelines, jail for violation The Union Home Ministry Tuesday issued strict guidelines for the enforcement of 21-day complete nationwide lockdown from Wednesday in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, invoking the National Disaster Management Act which may result in imprisonment of up to two years for any violation. The Home Ministry issued the exhaustive guidelines invoking Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, and Section 188 of the IPC.
The violations under these sections may invite fine and a jail term extending up to two years.