The Union government on Monday reiterated to state governments that trucks carrying goods are under no restrictions to move inter as well as intra state. The Ministry of Home Affairs has asked the states to appropriately follow the guidelines pertaining to truck movement during the nationwide lockdown.
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Punya Salila Srivastava, the joint secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs clarified that all trucks are allowed to move within and outside states.
“The Home Ministry has written to states asking them to follow lockdown guidelines of MHA in letter and spirit. Both inter-state and intra-state movement of trucks and goods carriers are allowed, whether or not goods are essential,” she said.
Along with that, the Ministry of Home Affairs has also dictated that trucks drivers involved in transportation are not required to have any additional permits or passes issued by the concerned state authorities. Srivastava added, “No separate permit or approval is required for cargo movement. Empty trucks or goods carriers are also allowed – since they may be going for pickup of goods or returning after delivery.”.
The government has also been taking proactive steps to ensure that truck drivers and helpers report to their duties in a safe and efficient manner. Commenting on the same, Srivastava said, “We have asked local authorities to proactively facilitate the truck driver and cleaner of trucks to travel from their homes to the truck location.”.
The Centre also asked local authorities to cooperate and facilitate the transport of workers of those organizations which have received permission to undertake official or commercial activities. It asked states and Union territories to issue passes to workers of those firms which are exempted from lockdown restrictions.
“Workers belonging to the MSME sector and employed in essential items such as atta, dal and edible oil should not face any hurdles. Warehouses and cold storages too should be allowed to operate, whether or not these are for essential items. These instructions are applicable to all areas except hot spots and containment areas,” Srivastava said.
“Through these measures, we can ensure that there is no shortage whatsoever of essential commodities and services during the lockdown,” she added.
Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said that it has come to the government’s attention that movement exemptions to certain vehicles and suppliers during the lockdown and guidelines related to vehicles carrying essential and non essential items were not being followed. Lack of implementation could lead to a massive break in the supply chain of commodities, leading to a potential shortage.
As per Bhalla, local authorities are still restricting the movement of trucks that are carrying both essential and non-essential goods. Along with that, drivers, helpers and labourers required for loading and unloading goods are not getting the appropriate permits for their seamless movement.
Any limitations imposed on activities that have been permitted by the home ministry can contribute to an alarming shortage of essential items during the lockdown, he said.