AMARAVATI: People in Andhra Pradesh will get free ration at their door steps on March 29 in view of the nationwide lockdown to check the spread of coronavirus, state Civil Supplies Minister Kodali Srivenkateswara Rao said on Wednesday.

The ration card holders need not visit the public distribution system (PDS) shops for biometric verification as the process has been suspended in view of the current situation, he told reporters here.

April's quota of rice as well as 1 kg of thoor dal would be distributed to ration card holders through village volunteers, he said. Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on March 22nd said that free ration, including dal, would be supplied to the poor while a monetary assistance of Rs 1,000 per family also would be handed out in view of the lockdown.

The cash assistance will be distributed to all ration card holders on April 4 through the village volunteers, Rao said appealing to the public to cooperate with the government in containing the spread of COVID-19, which has so far affected eight people in the state.

The Chief Minister convened a review meeting on Wednesday. The meeting discussed ways to successfully implement the concept of social distancing while reducing hardships to the people of the state. Apart from decentralising farm produce markets and bringing vegetable distribution closer homes in cities and towns, the government is making arrangements for maintaining social distancing at shops and other outlets.

The state government has also decided that people should be allowed outdoors, between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m. only to purchase essential items which are to be made available within a 3-km radius.

Apart from fixing the prices of vegetables and essential foodstuff, the government has decided to take serious action against persons involved in hoarding or hiking prices.

State Health Minister, A. Nani, Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney, DGP Gautam Sawang, Special Chief Secretary (Health) Jawahar Reddy and other senior officials participated in the review meeting.

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