New year gift for Odias, state eases restrictions


The lockdown due to coronavirus outbreak has been a mood dampener during the Odia new year but the recent announcements made by the state bring some good news.

Savyata Mishra |Bhubaneswar

In a press briefing held at the Information and Public Relations (I &PR) department in Bhubaneswar, the Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Pradeep Jena announced that the state will be easing the lockdown restrictions to some extent.

Pradeep Jena informed the media that starting April 15, home delivery of all kinds of products from various e-commerce and food delivery websites will be allowed. This has provided some relief to people who were awaiting the delivery of medicines and other grocery items from e-commerce platforms.

The commissioner also announced that a detailed special set of norms for the second phase of lockdown will be announced later in the day. Additionally, works related to Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), and Swacch Bharat Abhiyan will resume from April 15. Women self-help groups (SHGs) like Mission Shakti will start operating as well. Respective collectors of the districts will take necessary steps to overlook this functioning, he informed.

Although there hasn’t been any new coronavirus positive case in Odisha in the last 24 hours, restrictions will not be eased in Bhubaneswar in this second phase, not even for services related to agricultural activities due to higher COVID-19 cases in the capital city.

Surath Chandra Mallick, Additional Commissioner of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) said, “Works related to the Swacch Bharat will resume as directed by SRC. It will be difficult to start the work, amidst the staff shortage and the disease outbreak. However, we will hold a meeting with the commissioner soon to chalk out a plan.”

He said that priority will be given to awareness programmes related to the coronavirus.

On the other hand, Dr Sudhanshu Sarangi, Police Commissioner of Bhubaneswar said, “We decided to ease the restrictions on agricultural activities to minimise damage to crops. We are going to issue more passes to the delivery people so that they can deliver all services. By April 15, we will be fully prepared for a little more movement by people.”

It was announced that during the second phase of lockdown, sowing of paddy seeds and harvesting activities can be done by farmers. Production of rabi crops will begin April 15 onwards with cold storage and godowns resuming operations. Mandis will remain open as well. Services related to egg, fish, chicken and milk will continue.

Odisha was the first state to extend lockdown till April 30 and shut the educational institutions till June 17 to curb the spread of coronavirus. So far, the state has recorded one death and 54 positive cases, of which 13 have been discharged after treatment.

Feature Image Source: KPN News


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