People fight over milk and onions as India goes into a 21-day lockdown – Modi urges people to stay calm

  • At the kirana shops in the national capital, people were fighting for a packet of milk, over an onion and pushing others aside even as the lockdown was announced to maintain ‘social distancing’.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation said that essential services would stay open.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs issued a guideline which states that ration shops will continue to stay open.
A lawyer in Delhi’s top firm, who ordinarily shops from supermarkets, today ran out of her apartment in CR park to the nearest open vegetable vendor after Modi announced a lockdown. Why? She wanted to ensure that she had enough groceries stocked up for the next 21 days. While this is the mindset everyone around seems to have, it resulted in a tug of war for basic essentials.

At kirana shops in the national capital, people were fighting for a packet of milk, over an onion and pushing others ignoring the principles of ‘social distancing’. Caution was thrown to wind as everyone was desperate.

Regardless of the fact that essential services having been asked to stay functional, police officials were physically forcing down shutters of kirana stores, threatening to levy a penalty of ₹12,000 if shops continue to remain open. One police official said, “They only have permission to stay open till 7.30 pm.”

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But this wasn’t just in Delhi. Soon after people started tweeting about situations across the country.




However, the government has issued no such directive, yet. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation said that essential services would stay open. Soon after his speech, he tweeted and asked people to stay calm and asked them not to indulge in panic buying.
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The Ministry of Home Affairs issued a guideline which states that ration shops will continue to stay open. Shops dealing with food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy and milk booths, meat and fish, will stay open. However district authorities may encourage and facilitate home delivery to minimize the movement of individuals.

The order also stated that e-commerce platforms will remain operational for delivery of essential goods. A direct order is necessary from the government about e-commerce operationality. However, the implementation remains unclear as delivery agents of Amazon, Flipkart, Zomato, Bigbasket, Grofers are being stopped and arrested by the police for the last few days.

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Prime Minister Modi declares 21-day nationwide lockdown starting midnight
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