RAIPUR: The Government of Chhattisgarh has invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) 1968 in the wake of the nationwide lockdown imposed due to the spread of Covid-19 pandemic. The Act allows the state government to bring all government and private hospitals under its jurisdiction during the time of disaster in order to ensure maintenance of all health related and other essential services.
On the other hand, RP Mandal, Chief Secretary to the Government of Chhattisgarh, during the review meeting had asserted that availability of food must be ensured at all costs across the state. “As per the directions of Bhupesh Baghel, Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, the poor, laborers, beggars and needs should have access to food as and when required by them,” said Mandal during the meeting.
The state government has also set up a five-member Disaster Management Committee (DMC). The DMC consists of senior state government officials and is headed by RP Mandal, Additional Chief Secretary (Home). The committee consists of Kamalpreet Singh, Secretary (Food and Transport); Niharika Barik Singh, Secretary (Health); Alarmelmangai D, Secretary (Urban Administration) and DM Awasthi, Director General of Police, Chhattisgarh Police.
Mandal further stated that all district collectors and superintendents of police have been asked to ensure that people stay where they are during the lockdown, even if they belong to other states and wish to go back. “Residents of Chhattisgarh staying in other states shouldn’t try to return and the state government will coordinate with the respective states for their essential needs and health concerns”, the chief secretary said.
The government has assured the people that ration and fair price shops will remain open throughout the state and free distribution of food grains will continue for the beneficiaries. Instructions have also been issued for smooth transport of all essential items across the state. Apart from this, strict instructions have also been issued to local and district authorities to ensure implementation of guidelines and directives as set forth by the Centre for the nationwide lockdown.