By Sandun A. Jayasekera
In order to prevent uncontrolled gathering of people at market places amidst effort to combat COVID -19, a special mechanism has been established to deliver essential food items to homes, the President’s Media Division said.
Quoting the Head of the Presidential Task Force Basil Rajapaksa on Continuous Supply Home delivery of essential commodities, the PMD said this will be implemented through a local system in collaboration with Cooperative Societies and Supermarket chains.
“The entire process should be in line with the Coronavirus control initiatives carried out by the health sector. It is imperative to maintain the day-to-day life of the public. Steps have been taken to distribute food items while protecting domestic farmers and the national economy.” Mr. Rajapaksa made these observations during a meeting held on Wednesday at the Presidential Secretariat with all District Secretaries, Heads of Banks and State and private entities tasked with the supply of essential food items.
There is no shortage of rice, coconut, vegetables, eggs and chicken and Mr. Rajapaksa has pointed out the possibility of distributing these items through a combined effort between Cooperative outlets and supermarkets after purchasing from domestic farmers. These items can be packed according to the needs of families.
Assistance of the Centre for Disaster Management would be obtained for this operation. A decision was taken to deliver medicines to the homes of regular patients who have registered at hospitals with the support of Divisional Secretaries, Public Health Officers and the security forces. It was also discussed to implement a system to distribute medicines through few locally selected pharmacies to patients who purchase medicines from private pharmacies.
Heads of the banks were also advised to take action to keep the commercial banks open to facilitate trade and other essential activities. Mr. Rajapaksa has requested the authorities to implement a programme to deliver domestic gas at consumer’s doorstep responding to the order placed over the phone.
The objective of the entire project is to prevent the public from gathering at market places, so that the health sector’s efforts to combat the coronavirus could reap success.
Divisional Secretaries, Grama Seva Niladharis, Agricultural Research Officers and Samurdhi Development Officers will assist this distribution process. At present, several countries have completely stopped the import and export activities. It was discussed at length about building a stable production economy in the country while paying greater attention to the prevailing situation.
It was decided to facilitate the cultivation and fishery activities without any interruption. The relevant officials were advised to encourage the farmers to cultivate vegetables as well as paddy, maize, black gram, green gram, cow pea and kurakkan.
Ministers Chamal Rajapaksa, Bandula Gunawardana and Douglas Devananda, Secretary to the President, Dr. P.B. Jayasundara, Secretary to the Treasury Attygalle and Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. Kamal Gunaratne participated at this discussion.