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Ensure smooth supply of essential items, says Centre

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, March 24 - The Centre has directed all the State Governments to hold talks with the chambers of commerce and other suppliers to ensure smooth supply of essential commodities including sanitizers and masks in the wake of coronavirus outbreak and lock downs ordered by different states.

Highly placed sources in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of the Government of India told The Assam Tribune that though the situation in the North East region is still well under control, there is no scope for getting complacent and no State of the region should lower its guard.

Sources said that the region is very vulnerable because it is surrounded by foreign countries. �That is why, the Centre was very worried about the situation in the region following the outbreak of coronavirus. Fortunately, the situation is still well under control in all the states of the region,� sources added. It may be mentioned here that so far, only one case of coronavirus positive has been detected in the region.

Health Ministry sources said that the international border with China is well guarded and free movement through that border is not possible. The check posts along the international border have either been closed or regulated, but because of the porous nature of the international borders with Bangladesh, Myanmar and Bhutan, the possibility of persons coming from those countries cannot be ruled out. The border guarding forces are keeping a close watch on the borders, but it is almost impossible to guard every inch of the international borders because of the terrain. Despite the fact that the situation is well under control, the vulnerability has not come down, sources added.

When pointed out that Assam is facing shortage of items like masks and sanitizers, while, there have also been instances of price rise of essential commodities in the State, sources said that the Centre has already issued directives to the states to ensure adequate supply of all essentials. The Chief Secretaries of the states should hold talks with the suppliers to ensure steady supply, sources said.

Health Ministry sources further called upon the media to play a positive role in creating awareness among the people and said that social distancing is the only way to prevent the spreading of the disease.

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