Two days into a countrywide lockdown, reports of hardship faced by people to access essential commodities has prompted the Union home ministry (MHA) to ask states to ensure that essential commodities are available in plenty. A fresh advisory - the third since the lockdown - has been issued to states, including a standard operating Procedure that they need to follow. The nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 24, to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

In addition, the MHA has reiterated that states must open 24X7 control rooms to monitor the movement of essential goods, facilitate the movement of workers engaged in essential services sector and to also register complaints of citizens.

Union home Secretary Ajay Bhalla has written to chief Secretaries of all states asking them to ensure availability of essential commodities and that the supply chain is not disturbed. Bhalla said, "Restrictions fundamentally relate to the movement of people but not to that of essential commodities. It is therefore important that the availability of essential goods is ensured to relieve the hardships faced by people."

He also made a special mention bout animal fodder. "…it has come to our notice that some states are not allowing interstate movement of animal fodder. It is clarified that animal fodder is an essential item," Bhalla wrote.

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