As scores of daily wage workers have moved back to their hometowns due to the spread of coronavirus, the impact of migration can be seen affecting the medicine distribution chain in the national capital. Ashish Grover, General Secretary of Drug Dealer Association from Bhagirath Palace market said that the supply chain of medicines has got disturbed as there is a dearth of labourers.
Speaking to the media Grover said, "We have the medicines, masks, gloves, but we do not have workers to pack the consignment and deliver it to the retailers. Earlier, daily wage workers used to stay in the market but now they have left for their homes and a handful of them who are here are also facing problems in the commute as there is a limited option for the transport."
"We are not able to supply medicines to other states also because of the shortage of labourers, limited transport services. There are also very fewer truck drivers and helpers available. We have the products but only a few retailers are able to reach out to us," he added. The Bhagirath Palace market is also the largest hub of import and export trade of medicine in the country.
When asked about the availability of masks, Grover assured that there will be no shortage of masks and added "wholesalers have enough stocks. The only problem is distribution. The government must provide these protective gear through hospitals and Kendriya bhandars."
The government on March 24 announced a complete lockdown of the entire country for 21 days to fight COVID-19. All road, rail, and air services will remain suspended during the lockdown. However, freight movement will continue to carry essential commodities across the country. Essential services like Medical shops, Petrol pumps, grocery stores milk booths, and online shopping have also been exempted from the lockdown.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Friday informed that India's total number of COVID-19 positive cases now stands at 7,447. Out of these, 6,565 are active patients and 504 of them have been cured/discharged and migrated with 239 reported deaths.
(With ANI inputs)