Postal department to step up delivery of food and essentials

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New Delhi: To reach out to migrant workers and others in need, during the ongoing lockdown that has been extended till May 3; the postal department will step up its services in reaching out with food and essentials said people aware of the developments.

Union minister for Communications, Electronics and Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad has instructed chief post master generals and chief general managers of all states to keep their postal network geared and active to help those in need.

The ministry’s action comes in the wake of a raft of complaints from migrant workers across states about the unavailability of food and essentials.

“The minister said special focus should on providing food to those in need. In last 14 days, around 1 lakh food and dry ration packets have been distributed. In Uttar Pradesh alone, more than 50,000 food and dry ration packets have been distributed amongst migrant labourers, construction workers; while in Bihar, around 16,000 food packets and 11500 packets of soaps, masks, sanitizers and gloves have been distributed,” said a functionary aware of the details.

From trekking to Gauchar in a remote part of Uttarakhand to deliver lifesaving drugs to transporting ventilators from Puducherry in the South to Gujarat in the East, the postal department has emerged as a frontline delivery agent at a time when the Corona pandemic is raging globally.

In the absence of mass transport systems, during the nationwide lockdown that will end on May 3; the postal department has had to not just transport tones of medicines and equipment; but has also had to step in to ensure government benefits are reaching the beneficiaries.

Given the postal department’s experience at running primary savings services, the department was given the task of opening new accounts so that direct benefits could be transferred to those in need. It has also been tasked with the responsibility of doorstep delivery of pension in remote parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Leh, Gujarat, Telengana, Karnataka, tribal areas of Jharkhand, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.

According to the functionary quoted above when the lockdown was first announced on March 24, a group of migrant workers in Meghalaya, found themselves stranded with little money and food. Shifted to various relief camps in Shillong, these workers had no bank accounts, which made it difficult for the government to each out with aid.

“In order to provide timely relief, the department of posts in coordination with India Post Payments Bank organised an account opening camp in the relief camp at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Shillong,” said the functionary quoted above,

After the lockdown began on March 25, all businesses and production came to a grinding halt, except essential services.