Stepping into the second week of the mandated lockdown, Goa is staring at a new crisis — shops unable to replenish stocks with the labourers missing in Maharashtra and borders being difficult to cross around Karnataka. Days look set get tougher with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant admitting there was a medicine shortage and steps were being taken to address that on priority.
“There is a medicine shortage. Director Food and Drug Administration is speaking to all wholesalers. Medicine should be made available to people to keep the medicine chain open and functioning,” Sawant told reporters on Monday.
On Monday, vegetables at horticulture stores were sold by 11 am, with long queues extending for over three hours at some places. The Goa Markets Association head, Premanand Chaudikar, spoke of the Goan grocery shops now waiting for stocks. “The bulk of the grocery for Goa gets picked from Kolhapur’s Shahu Market. The labour is missing there. While we can arrange for transport here, passing the border is also a difficulty. Usually, the stocks have a sales cycle of 15 days, what we have is the bulk orders picked for Goan shops a fortnight ago. It’s bound to finish,” he added.
The association runs according to the fair price system and has stores across Goa. At shopping centres, too, the stocks were only “on emergency basis” with limits put.
The Corporation of Panjim, too, suffered a shortage of stocks with their customers asked to wait. Mapusa resident Miguel Braganaza said they were still in the waiting list with no stocks in sight.
CM Sawant’s social media interfaces through the day also had messages from Goans across the states asking for grocery supply to be fixed, even as some thanked for vegetables that had begun trickling from Goan fields. While some volunteers did get the passes, the majority applicants were still to get any authority to travel and help with stock distribution.
One good initiative that brought relief was delivery of food from restaurants which had begun in places.
“We are ensuring food and grocery supplies to grocery stores in Goa and taking every effort to maintain the food chain,” Sawant said.
Sawant also said 268 tonnes of vegetables were for now procured by the Horticulture department and sourced to 1,200 outlets.
In other pressing initiatives, he said Rs. 52 crore from the District Mineral Fund was being diverted towards efforts to combat COVID-19, with the order for 200 ventilators placed for Rs. 16 crore.
Meanwhile, earlier on Monday afternoon, the Goa Human Rights Commission issued a notice to the state government following videos of CISF personnel beating and making civilians squat surfaced.
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