Ahead of the week-long lockdown in Tamil Nadu from May 24, the state government announced its plan to ensure an uninterrupted supply of fruits and vegetables in Chennai and other parts of the state with the help of 4,380 mobile shops. The government has deployed 1,610 mobile carts in Chennai and 2,770 carts in other parts of the state. These mobile carts will deliver fruits and vegetables between 7 am and 1 pm daily. The Tamil Nadu government has also set up an exclusive helpline (044 2225 3884) where people can call for product-related queries.
The state government, on May 22, announced a complete lockdown in Tamil Nadu, during which shops supplying groceries, fruits and vegetables will remain shut. The state horticulture department will ensure the supply of vegetables and fruits through mobile outlets in the city and elsewhere, in association with local bodies, MK Chief Minister Stalin said. He added that only essential departments will function in the state Secretariat and the districts.
The Tamil Nadu government has announced that it will partner with service providers such as Ninjacart, Way Cool, Pazhamudhir Nilayam, Tamil Nadu Banana Producers Union, and Ahimsa Farmer Produce Company to expand its distribution capability. In addition to directly sourcing produce from farmers nearby, the government has set up a team comprising officials from horticulture, agriculture and agricultural produce distribution departments.
According to a government release, the state has 194 cold storage facilities capable of storing 18,527 metric tonnes of produce. So far, only 3,000 metric tonnes have been used and the rest can be utilised by farmers for storing their produce.
The government has also instructed local bodies to work along with the cooperative department to set up a distribution network in their areas. In 2020, the Tamil Nadu government had utilised mobile carts to ensure the supply of fruits and vegetables to people’s homes.
On May 23 (Sunday), the day before full lockdown is to come into effect, markets across the state saw people panic buying and stocking up on essentials. Vegetables and fruits were also sold at exorbitant rates. Following this, R Sakkarapani, Food and Civil Supplies Minister, intervened, warning strict action against those who overpricing essential items.