Bhubaneswar, March 27: As the nationwide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of novel coronavirus entered the third day on Friday, civic bodies in Odisha have roped in shopping malls, stores and self-help groups (SHG) for doorstep delivery of essential commodities to ensure that people remain indoors.
The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has formed a pool of 28 stores for home delivery of food items and other essential goods to prevent gatherings at markets while Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) has asked around a dozen shopping malls to undertake a similar initiative, officials said. Coronavirus Outbreak: Odisha Reports its First COVID-19 Case as Person With Travel History to Italy Tests Positive.
The Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BeMC) has also launched door-to-door delivery of vegetables through SHG members in view of the 21-day lockdown.
In Bhubaneswar, the BMC has asked 28 stores and outlets for home delivery of essential items as social distancing is essential for preventing the spread of COVID-19, an official of the civic body said.
"This is among a number of initiatives taken by the corporation to make essential commodities available at the doorsteps of the residents of Bhubaneswar. It will check large gatherings in market areas and make social distancing effective," he said.
Mentioning that the stores will ensure home delivery of essential articles from 7 am to 11 pm from Friday, he said that the BMC has also provided a list of WhatsApp numbers of these outlets which can be contacted for placing orders.
People can send the list of the items they require along with their address for delivery and pay the bill after receiving the articles, he said. Meanwhile, Commissioner of Police Bhubaneswar-Cuttack Sudhanshu Sarangi said there is no restriction on the opening hours for shops selling essential commodities in the twin city. Shops can remain open as long as they want to avoid crowding by customers.
In Cuttack, the CMC has made arrangements with around a dozen malls and stores for providing doorstep delivery services to ensure that people stay indoors, an official said. Meanwhile, some stores and retailers have started home delivery of groceries in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and nearby areas through mobile applications and websites.
Some other groups are delivering non-vegetarian food items after receiving online orders in Bhubaneswar, while a similar drive has been taken for doorstep delivery of milk and dairy products too. In Berhampur, the urban local body has taken the initiative for home delivery of vegetables though members of SHGs.
In the first phase, they have started selling potatoes and onions in 20 of the 40 wards in the corporation, said Ganjam district Collector Vijay Amruta Kulange, who is also the administrator of the BeMC. In the coming days, the entire city would be covered to ensure doorstep delivery during the lockdown period, he said.
"In the first phase, we have engaged at least 25 women-run SHGs of the city for the purpose. Each SHG has been provided with potatoes and onions of 50 kg each for sale at retail market price," said BeMC commissioner Chakravarti Singh Rathore. They have been allowed to sell these commodities between 7 am and noon, as stipulated by the district administration.
"We will entrust at least two SHGs in each ward for home delivery of the vegetables," he said. After seeing the response of the people, he said the civic body would take a decision for home supply of other fresh vegetables through the members of the SHGs. The vehicles, meant for carrying subsidised meals under Aahar Yojana, will be utilised for bulk transportation of the vegetables, Rathore added.