The Chhattisgarh government has announced free ration through the public distribution system for a month even for those families without a ration card in the state. The move came at a time when the entire country is in lockdown till May 3 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The state’s Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel made the announcement during his daily press conference. He said his administration will ensure that nobody in the state will go hungry during the lockdown period.
Last week, Baghel had announced free ration for two months to 56 lakh ration cardholders. “There are 65 lakh ration cardholders in the state, of which 56 lakh families live below the poverty line,” he had said.
“We have decided to provide free ration to them for two months. We have provided 70 kg for two months. As per the latest data, 40 lakh families have collected their rations,” the CM said.
Baghel said on Wednesday that the lockdown was still in place in Chhattisgarh in an attempt to stop the transmission of the coronavirus. He added that on April 21, the government will take further decisions based on the situation in the state. As of Friday morning, Chhattisgarh has reported only 33 cases of COVID-19, 23 recoveries, and no deaths, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The chief minister announced that curfew will be relaxed in those districts which report no cases of the coronavirus. “Therefore, it is essential that we strictly follow the lockdown in our districts,” he added. Baghel said people should wear masks outside the home, wash their hands regularly and practice physical distancing.
The Centre had on Wednesday unveiled a plan to slowly kickstart the stalled economy post-April 20. According to the new guidelines, districts in which no coronavirus cases have been reported will be classed in the “green zone” and some agricultural and allied industrial activities can begin there, with restrictions. The Centre also classified 207 districts as hotspots and identified districts where there were a lesser number of cases as “non-hotspots”.