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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Punjab: No regard for social distancing during free ration distribution

The arrival of team led to a chaos as thousands of people thronged the distribution site.

Written by Saurabh Prashar | Chandigarh | April 23, 2020 3:25:37 am
During dry ration distribution at Mauli Jagran in Chandigarh on Wednesday. Express

SOCIAL DISTANCING was thrown to the winds and lack of coordination between local police personnel and food and supply team came to the fore when a team without any prior information landed at Mauli Jagran with a large truck of ration for 200 below poverty line (BPL) families.

The arrival of team led to a chaos as thousands of people thronged the distribution site.

It was the first day for distribution of dry ration at Mauli Jagran under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojna (PMGKY). The team arrived around 11 am. Sources said things were smooth when the dry ration was being distributed at Vikas Nagar. But on Wednesday, the distribution team did not have any clarity about the names of beneficiaries. They came and started making announcements. Local cops from Mauli Jagran police station too rushed to the spot. There were around 15 cops. They were insufficient to control around 1,000 people, including women and children.

A local resident, Bharat Bhandari, said, “There was chaos all around. Merely a handful men of food and supply department came along with a truck loaded with dry ration packets, made announcements and within minutes, the empty streets were overcrowded. More than one person from one family thronged the distribution site for procuring the ration. There were no circle markings for the people to stand in. Some cops pleaded with the mob to maintain discipline and social distancing.”

Mauli Jagran SHO Juldan Singh said, “We urged the food and supply department team to stop the distribution of ration. We dispersed all the people. The team again came with a proper list of all eligible persons for the dry ration. Only these persons were informed. They came and collected the ration while following the social distancing norms. Senior officers were informed about it.”

Vinod P Kavle, Secretary, Food and Supplies, was not available for comment.

On April 14, a similar situation was witnessed at Indira Colony when hundreds of people had gathered at the distribution site despite knowing the ration was meant for only 60 families.

BJP area councillor Anil Dube said, “Some mischievous elements spread rumours that ration is being given to all people. It triggered confusion.”

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