Maharashtra : Shops selling essentials can stay open 24x7

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced that shops supplying essential commodities and medical stores will be permitted to remain open round-the-clock.

Thackeray made the announcement a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared a complete lockdown to tackle coronavirus.

“In view of the lockdown, people are facing difficulties procuring essential commodities, groceries and medicines. Massive crowds are seen at most of these shops, which may adversely affect people’s health. Under such circumstances, it has been decided that these establishments be granted permission to carry out their businesses for 24 hours a day,’’ Thackeray said.

At a meeting attended by chief secretary Ajoy Mehta and bureaucrats, Thackeray reviewed the state’s preparedness to fight the virus. The state government also appointed three senior IAS officers to ensure that essential supplies arrive uninterrupted. Principal secretary Anoop Kumar has been assigned to ensure smooth despatch of vegetables and fruit from APMCs. Principal secretary Mahesh Pathak will oversee supply of foodgrains to fair price shops and his peer Abha Shukla will monitor food supply to daily wage labourers rendered jobless.

A senior bureaucrat said several citizens had brought to the CM’s notice difficulties faced in procuring essential commodities and medicines. The bureaucrat added now that permission is granted to keep shops open 24/7, it will be their responsibility to ensure safe distance between customers, and fumigation and cleanliness of the premises.

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