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Kejriwal asks people to follow lockdown; warns strict action against violators

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday said the people should observe the lockdown in the national capital to contain the spread of coronavirus or face strict action.

He also announced that 50 per cent of the DTC buses will be operational from Tuesday to ensure that those involved in essential services do not face problems.

He said that there were 30 cases in Delhi till date, out of which 23 were reported from people who came from the affected countries and seven were infected through the local transmission.

He also appealed to the landlords to not force tenants to pay rent and announced that mid-day meals will be delivered at the homes of children and Aanganwadi workers.

In an online media briefing, Kejriwal said the lockdown, which is in place till March 31 midnight, is for everyone''s benefit and it is important to ensure that the virus does not spread further.

"Today, Delhi witnessed that the majority of the people are following the rules but some people have violated the order of lockdown.

"It is important to understand the situation of this pandemic. The Delhi government does not wish to make the lives of people difficult but we are doing this to tackle the crisis," he added.

He also cited the examples of Italy and the US where the number of patients was in hundreds initially but rose exponentially within weeks.

Kejriwal said that on February 23, Italy had only a hundred reported cases and today there were more than 40,000 cases in country, of which more than 5,000 people had died.

In America on February 29, there were only 68 reported cases and only one death was reported, but today there were more than 35,000 cases and more than 418 people had died.

"This virus doesn't see gender or class of people, therefore, the lockdown was mandatory...

"The situation of Delhi is under control but this is not the time to cheer up but to follow the restrictions because if we do not take action today and the disease spreads to a large number of people then the situation will become very tough," he said.

He said the Delhi government will take strict action against violators.

Kejriwal requested the people to follow the order of lockdown and not leave their houses.

"Whatever we are doing today is for you and the entire Delhi. From tomorrow if anybody is violating the order of lockdown then the government will be forced to take strict action against the violators. The government will have to take strict action to make you safe and to make Delhi safer," he said.

Kejriwal said that the restrictions imposed in the wake of coronavirus were causing a financial burden on the poor and daily wage labourers.

"We had initially decided to set-up kitchens across the city and distribute free food to the poor, but the idea had to be shunned because free distribution of food will result in a mass gathering of the people at a particular spot," he said.

He announced that the government hasdecided to provide 7.5 kilos of free rations to 72 lakh beneficiaries attached to the ration scheme for one month. Earlier, wheat was available at Rs 2 per kg, rice at Rs 3 per kg and sugar at Rs 13 per kg.

"Now, the ration will be provided free of cost at 50 per cent more quantity than normal entitlements for April. We will also supply the ration for April, from March 30, because it will take us time to procure the ration from the central government and distribute it," he said.

He also urged people to maintain a distance of one meter in the ration queues.

Around 18 lakh families will be covered under the ration scheme.

The government has also decided to double the pension under the widow pension scheme for 2.5 lakh beneficiaries, the old-age pension scheme for five lakh beneficiaries, and disability pension scheme for one lakh beneficiaries, he said.

"The beneficiaries will get the pension amount for March and April, by April 7. We are also arranging for free lunch and dinner facilities in 220-night shelters for every person," he said.

Kejriwal said that on the first day of the lockdown, it was observed that several people involved in providing essential services reached late to work and faced several hassles.

"To ensure that they don't face problems, we will increase the DTC bus services to 50 per cent from Tuesday," Kejriwal said.

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

First Published: Mon, March 23 2020. 22:08 IST