Ensure availability of essential goods: MHA to states

NEWDELHI, 8th Apr: Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla has written to all state chief secretaries for taking up necessary measures so as to ensure availability of essential goods, by invoking provisions of the Essential Commodities (EC) Act 1955. These measures include fixing of stock limits, capping of prices, enhancing production, inspection of accounts of dealers and other such actions.
Taking into consideration of reports of loss of production due to various factors, especially reduction in labour supply, the Union Home Secretary directed the states for taking up precautionary measures as there is possibility of inventory building, hoarding and black marketing, profiteering, and speculative trading in this situation, resulting in price rise of essential goods.
The states have been asked to take urgent steps to ensure availability of these commodities at fair prices for the public at large.
The directive has come following Home Minister Amit Shah's order on Tuesday directing its Ministry officials to stop hoarding and black marketing across the country with the help of state administration.
Earlier, the Home Ministry, with its orders under the Disaster Management Act, had allowed manufacture, production, transport and other related supply-chain activities in respect of essential goods like foodstuff, medicines and medical equipment.
Further, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has authorised states and Union Territories (UTs) to notify orders under the Essential Commodity (EC) Act, 1955 by relaxing the requirement of prior concurrence of the Central government up to June 30, 2020. Pointing out that offences under the EC Act are criminal offences and may result in imprisonment of seven years or fine or both, the Home Secretary also made it clear that state and UT governments may also consider detention of offenders under the Prevention of Black-marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980.

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