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Coronavirus: Kerala plans public kitchens, says no one should starve

Indian Express 2020-03-26 02:49:01

Written by

Shaju Philip

| Thiruvananthapuram |

Published: March 26, 2020 2:49:01 am Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. (File Photo)

To ensure that the 21-day lockdown does not leave anyone starving in Kerala, the state government on Wednesday announced community kitchens run by local bodies. People can dial for food, which would be served by volunteers at their doorstep. Local bodies will also provide food to those under home quarantine.

The government has also entrusted local bodies and the revenue department to ensure food and accommodation for migrant workers still in Kerala.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, “The prevailing situation would push people into starvation. But, nobody should be left starving in Kerala during the lockdown. Local self-governing bodies should take up the responsibility to supply food to those who cannot prepare food…’’

He said, “Everyone’s problems cannot be solved from a single centre. So, an elaborate decentralised system would be in place to address the issue. The ward-level volunteer system would be applied.”

Vijayan said local self-governing bodies — village panchayats to municipal bodies — should establish community kitchens. Every local body should make an assessment on the people who will require food, he said.

“Some persons with false pride may not directly demand food. But, if a phone number is given, they would. Such persons should not be avoided on the ground that they did not seek any help,’’ he said. He said local bodies would have to find cooks and volunteers for distributing food. Families in isolated areas should not be left unattended, he added.

The state government has also decided to take care of migrant workers in Kerala, mainly from North and Northeastern states. The Pathanamthitta district administration on Wednesday entrusted tehsildars with finding lodging for migrant workers.

In Ernakulam, secretaries of village panchayat have been asked to ensure accommodation and food for the migrant workers.

The Cabinet also decided to recommend to the Governor the promulgation of Kerala Epidemic Diseases Ordinance 2020. The proposed law would give more powers to the state government to control programmes held by individuals and groups. Accordingly, the state can seal its borders and restrict private as well as public transport. It also has provisions through which the government can restrict or ban crowds at public places and religious institutions and control functioning of government and private institutions.

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