Lockdown 2.0 guidelines released, truck movement made easier

The Ministry of Home Affairs has released revised guidelines for the nationwide lockdown, with certain exemptions and new set of rules, after the Prime Minister announced the extension of the lockdown period till May 3, 2020. As per these guidelines, certain departments and industries will resume operations starting from April 20, under careful monitoring.

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The guidelines bring good tidings for the transportation sector, with goods and carrier vehicles being allowed to ply on the roads without restrictions. The move comes after the MHA recognised that the supply chain operations in the country require to be unhindered during the lockdown period. Hence, empty trucks and other commercial vehicles will be allowed to move after they have made their deliveries, or are on the way to pick cargo up.

The MHA has taken repeated requests by the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) into consideration, who claim that truck drivers and helpers have been facing difficulties when it comes to movement of cargo and permits. Moreover, the association pointed out that despite the government’s clear instructions, allowing transportation of non-essential goods as well, there have been instances wherein FIRs have been lodged against vehicles carrying such goods.

As per the current rules, trucks will be allowed to move with two drivers and a helper on board, with the driver carrying a valid driving license. The association, however, has asked the government to allow 5 drivers to be on board, while taking care of the appropriate safety protocols.

In a statement, Naveen Kumar Gupta, Secretary General, AIMTC, said, “Post-implementation of the lockdown, only 5-6 percent of 70 lakh drivers are currently working. Many of them have left for their native homes and refuse to return, fearing for their safety.”

Further, to ensure that the whole ecosystem for truck drivers and supply chain does not get disrupted, shops for truck repairs and dhabas on highways will be allowed to operate, with a stipulated minimum distance, as prescribed by the state authorities.

According to the new guidelines, the below mentioned services will be fully-functional after April 20:

  • All medical facilities, including health infrastructure related works.
  • Agriculture and Horticulture related activities including Mandis run by Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) or notified by State/Union government.
  • Transportation of cargo by airways and railways.
  • Financial sector including RBI, bank branches and ATMs, SEBI.
  • MGNREGA related work.
  • Industries related to the production of essential goods, industries in rural areas.
  • Public utilities such as oil and gas sector.
  • E-commerce companies’ operations.
  • Infrastructure projects such as the construction of roads, buildings, irrigation projects including MSME in rural areas.
  • IT companies, but with only 50 percent staff and following strict social distancing protocols.
  • Movement of private vehicles in case of any medical emergency. In case of two-wheelers, only the driver will be allowed.
  • Offices of departments under the government of India and its subsidiaries, with only essential staff.
  • Offices of state governments, union territories and their autonomous/subordinates.
  • IRDAI and insurance companies.
  • Social sector including observation homes, after-care homes and Anganwadis.
  • Postal services along with post offices across the country.
  • Public utility works such as water, sanitation and waste management by Municipal/local bodies in states and union territories.
  • Trucks with two drivers and a helper. Empty trucks to pick up goods or to return after delivering goods.
  • Truck repair shops and dhabas on highways with prescribed social distancing norms.
  • Common Service Centres (CSCs) approved by government at gram panchayat level.
  • Private security services and facilities management services to ensure the security and maintenance of office complexes.
  • Hotels, homestays, lodges and motels which are accommodating tourists stranded due to lockdown.
  • People offering private services such as electricians, IT repairs, plumbers, motor mechanics and carpenters.

Along with that, below mentioned services and facilities will remain suspended till May 3:

  • Passenger transport by railways, airways or buses along with metro service in big cities.
  • Inter-state and Inter-district movement of persons, except for the condition exempted.
  • All industrial and commercial activities other than specifically exempted.
  • All educational, training and coaching institutions.
  • All cab and taxi services including auto rickshaws and cycle rickshaws.
  • Hospitality services other than specifically exempted.
  • All places of public gathering such as malls, cinema halls, shopping complex, gymnasiums, sports complex., swimming pools, entertainment parks
  • In funerals and congregations, attendance of more than 20 people.
  • Religious spots or places of worship.
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