Chandigarh, Mar 25 (PTI) People in Punjab and Chandigarh moved out of their homes on Wednesday, defying the curfew order as they alleged that the authorities failed to deliver essential goods at their doorsteps as promised.
While the authorities have fixed different time slots in all districts for the delivery of essential commodities at doorsteps, people at several places complained that they did not get the items, especially grocery, fruits and vegetables.
"I have not been able to get vegetables delivered at my home," said a resident of Mohali where district authorities had announced relaxation of curfew, but withdrew the order later.
Many people also complained that the helpline numbers were non-responsive. Left with no other choice, people stepped out to buy essential items from their neighbourhood markets, and at some places, long queues were witnessed outside milk booths and pharmacies.
In Patiala and Bathinda, people lined up for buying essential items, while in Mohali, people were seen standing outside shops maintaining social distancing. District authorities at most places of the state had fixed 6 am to 9 am slot for home delivery of milk, while the timing for the supply of grocery and medicines was 8 am to 11 am.
At few places in the state, milk was delivered at people''s doorstep, while many complained of being forced to pay more for vegetables and fruits. Newspapers were not delivered at several places.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said the state government will take all possible steps to avoid any inconvenience to the public during the curfew period. He directed the police and administrative officials to ensure that door-to-door delivery of essential services is maintained, adding volunteers may also be engaged, if necessary, for ensuring prompt delivery, an official statement said.
The chief minister had on Tuesday said deputy commissioners would ensure door-to-door delivery of essential commodities through pre-identified hawkers or distributors.
The authorities said phone numbers of the designated vegetable sellers, grocery shops and pharmacies were shared with the people so that they could get the items delivered at their houses.
The state government has released a district-wise list of helpline numbers for people.
There were also reports of farmers not being able to reach cities to sell their produce.
Videos showing police using mild force against violators for defying curfew orders went viral on social media. Some videos also showed the security personnel thrashing violators with sticks.
"Most of the people have now understood (the importance of staying at home) and they did not venture out of their homes today," said a police officer in Amritsar on Wednesday, adding that strict action will be taken against those who defy the restrictions.
Meanwhile, Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta said the state police went into mission mode to launch innovative and indigenous initiatives across districts to facilitate door-to-door supply of essential goods through strategic tie-ups with Zomata, Swiggy, Verka, Amul, mandi pradhan and chemist associations.
He also appealed to the people and media to show some patience as arrangements on such a large scale need time for implementation.
Police said strict enforcement of the curfew had curtailed the number of FIRs registered for violation to 74 on Wednesday against the 232 FIRs registered on Tuesday.
Punjab has so far recorded 31 coronavirus cases.
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Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI