Food minister Manoj Kanti Deb in Mahargunj Bazaar inspecting the price of essential commodities on Tuesday Credit: EastMojo Image

Agartala: Ahead of the lockdown due to the coronavirus threat starting from 2 pm on Tuesday, Tripura food minister along with senior officials of different departments launched a drive to ensure the availability of essential commodities in the market.

Speaking with reporters, food minister Manoj Kanti Deb said that the government had announced a lockdown starting from Tuesday at 2 pm keeping the essential services active.

“We have observed that a section of businessmen are selling essential commodities at a higher price taking advantage of the announcement of lockdown. We have visited stalls and interacted with the shopkeepers and people visiting the market to not buy things more than their requirements,” Deb said.

He also said that the vegetables, meat markets and grocery shops are out of the lockdown, there is no need to hoard goods and create a crisis in the market.

“The SDM Sadar has arrested four persons today who were found involved in black marketing and this is not a good sign. The supply of essential communities will continue and the rationing system is also active,” Deb added.

The team comprising of the food minister along with the deputy director and Sadar SDM visited different markets in the capital city, including Maharajgunj, Lake Chowmuhani, Battala, etc.

Speaking with reporters, Sadar SDM Ashim Saha said that a section of people have also started standing in queue for petrol pumps and that is creating panic among mass.

“The state has sufficient 1.15 lakh litres of petrol and over 1 lakh litres of diesel in stock. The youths are creating panic and we have instructed the pump owners not to supply fuel to anyone who tries to create pressure on them,” Saha said.

While announcing the lockdown, the chief minister had said that the government has two months of buffer stock, while the private traders have one month stock with them.

The state government had also announced to provide a free ration of 15 days to 5.86 lakh families of AAY and priority beneficiaries. Up to 18 kg of rice and dal to 2.66 lakh primary students per family and 25 kg of rice and dal to 1.65 lakh upper primary students who are receiving mid-day meals at present.

“We have decided to provide two months social pensions including April and May to four lakh people and for which Rs 72 crore was sanctioned,” law minister Ratan Lal Nath said.

Request to the Centre from the state government has also been made so that the adequate LPG, petrol, kerosene, etc, are provided to the state.

“We have also requested the government of Assam to allow the Tripura-bound vehicles of essential commodities to pass through that state safely,” Nath added.

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