Abu Dhabi: Supermarkets in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have assured residents of “ample” food supplies from India, despite a 21-day nationwide lockdown imposed by the Modi government in New Delhi over the coronavirus pandemic, a media report said.
V. Nandakumar, Chief Communications Officer at Lulu Group, told Gulf News on Wednesday: “We have chartered four cargo flights from India to bring in fruits, vegetables and perishables to ensure that our shelves and warehouses are well-stocked in the UAE and the market remains stable in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
“Our goal is to ensure sustained product availability.”
Of the four flights, two are from Kochi and one each from Thiruvananthapuram and Delhi.
“The Delhi flight arrived last night (Tuesday) and one flight from Kochi came in this afternoon. The other two flights are due later,” said Nandakumar.
As of now, Lulu is the only hypermarket which is chartering such cargo flights to the UAE, a week after it undertook a similar initiative in Kuwait.
Nandakumar told Gulf News that the chartered flights would now ply on a daily basis owing to the suspension of commercial aircraft in the UAE, a measure taken to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Asked if the 21-day lockdown announced in India would affect supplies in the UAE, he said: “As of now, special passes have been issued for export-import activities, including the movement of products. We don’t see an issue.”
At the Al Maya supermarket chain, Kamal Vachani, Group Director, told Gulf News: “Supplies from India are fine as of now. The Essential Commodities Act in India provides for the free movement of rice, wheat, sugar and other essential commodities.
“We are in touch with our suppliers to see how things will pan out during the lockdown. We are making all efforts to ensure that we have enough supplies for the coming days.”
The UAE has so far reported 333 confirmed coronavirus cases with two deaths.