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Don't panic, shops will remain open, enough grain stock to

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

Despite lockdown, shops selling vegetables, meat, dairy products as well as medical stores and hospitals will remain open, but people should avoid crowding in such places, Maharashtra Food and Civil Supplies Minister Chhagan Bhujbal said on Tuesday evening.

He also assured that the state has enough foodgrains to last at least six months.

Vegetables, potato and onion wholesale markets have also not been closed. Even farmers can continue to sell vegetables directly to consumers, he added.

Speaking to a Marathi channel after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nation-wide lockdown to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, Bhujbal said people should not panic and rush to shops.

Shops selling essential commodities will remain open, he assured.

"But care should be taken that there is no crowd. Instructions have been given that police and all concerned agencies should ensure consistent supply of essential commodities," the minister said.

"Only one person in family should go out to purchase essential commodities. People should take care that these shops are not be crowded," he said.

Instructions have been given to police and government officials to handle the situation sensitively, Bhujbal said.

Despite restrictions on movement of vehicles, the supply of essential commodities will be unaffected, he said, asking people not to do panic-buying.

"We have enough stocks to last for six months," he told reporters.

"Mathadi workers (head loaders who work in wholesale vegetable and grain markets) and farmers are also humans and their safety is also important. Don't crowd the markets. Cooperate with the police," he said.

People should not panic, Bhujbal said, stressing that maintaining hygiene and social distancing was important.

The minister also warned against hoarding and black- marketing. "If essential commodities including masks and sanitizers are black-marketed or hoarded, it would be punished with seven years' imprisonment," he said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, March 24 2020. 22:20 IST