Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday welcomed the 21-day nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus and suggested that the movement of goods may be permitted seamlessly across the country without their differentiation as essential and non-essential.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Patnaik said Odisha has been making all-out efforts to ensure that the lockdown is enforced effectively.
"In this context, I would like to draw your attention to one issue of nationwide ramification, i.e. movement of goods across states through inter-state borders. As of now, it has been announced that all transport services expect the transportation of essential goods will remain suspended. I am of the view that differentiation of goods as essential and non-essential will lead to discretion, corruption and dislocation at check gate level," Patnaik said.
He added that doing the same will "lead to chaos and affect the movement of essential goods as well."
"I understand there are long queues extending to a couple of kilometres in the inter-state borders. I am sharing this from our experience in handling natural disasters - whenever we have made a differentiation between essential and non-essential goods, the overall goods movement, especially of essential goods get affected. At the same time it is difficult to prepare a comprehensive list of essential and non-essential goods and get it enforced practically at the field level," he said.
Patnaik suggested that "movement of goods may be permitted seamlessly across the country without any differentiation, in order to avoid clogging at the check gates that may adversely impact the supply of essential goods."
"I would request you to make a decision in this matter on an urgent basis. The biggest challenge for the country will be to ensure the availability of goods across the country especially in view of the lockdown," he said.
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