Lucknow, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has assured that essential commodities will be delivered at the doorstep and has asked people not to step out of their home.
The government, however, has no plan in place for doorstep delivery yet and the police are in an extremely belligerent mood.
Minutes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown in the country on Tuesday night, people in Lucknow, Agra, Meerut, Prayagraj and Kanpur rushed out of their homes to stock up on groceries.
"We don't trust the government. They did not ensure supply of essential commodities during the three-day lockdown, and we have no reason to believe that they will do so now," said R.K. Mishra, a private bank employee who was out shopping for vegetables on Tuesday night.
He said that the government should allow stores like Spencers, Big Bazaar, to remain open so that they can continue their online services.
ADM (Civil Supplies) R.D. Pandey said, "We will come up with a solution within next five days".
The Chief Minister has said that those who need any essential commodities or medicines can call the helpline 112.
"We have arranged 10,000 vehicles, including 4,500 police response vehicles, 4,200 ambulances and other official vehicles, to ensure delivery of essential items. From Wednesday, these vehicles will carry vegetables, milk, fruits, medicines and other necessary items to all areas of cities in the state," Adityanath had said.
However, people have already started complaining of the ineffectiveness of the helpline.
"I called up the helpline on Tuesday because I had run out of Insulin injections. The constable who took the call was extremely rude and said: "Ek injection le kar aapke ghar nahin aayenge. Bina injection ke kaam chalao" (We will not come to your house with one injection. Manage without the needle)," said Prem Srivastava, a retired school principal who has Insulin-dependent diabetes.
Most medicine shops are also running out of stock. P.P. Jaiswal, a medical shop-owner said that since supplies had been disrupted since March 22 (Janata Curfew) and then the three-day lockdown announced by the state government and demand had swelled, stocks were low.
The government has also not clarified on the payment methods of doorstep delivery.
"We do not know how this will be done. We cannot make cash transactions since that would entail maintaining accounts which our cops are not equipped for. We have not received any clear directives on this issue yet," said a senior police official.
As Navratri began on Wednesday, hundreds of families could not get puja essentials even though the Chief Minister had said that puja essentials would be provided to all.
"Shops selling puja essentials have not opened. Temples are shut down, and sweet shops are also closed. I do not know how we will perform puja in such conditions," said Harish Dwiwedi, who has been observing 'Navratri' since the past 63 years.
The Chief Minister has also said that the government has decided to encourage restaurants to provide home delivery.
Restaurant owners, however, are unsure if they would restart business during his period.
"The police are not allowing our workers so there is no way in which we can start home delivery of food items," said a restaurant owner.
The police, despite clarifications issued by the state government, continue to misbehave. Doctors, bank employees have been roughed up and prevent from going to their places of work in the past 24 hours.
Media persons, mainly printed media, has also been at the receiving end of police ire.