The Union Government has sent a clarification to the states on Monday that no restrictions can be imposed on the inter-state and intra-state movement of goods trucks.
Surprisingly, just one day before the lockdown is to end, the Ministry of Home Affairs has written to the state governments that all movement of trucks and goods carriers should be allowed during the 21 day-countrywide lockdown. This clarification applies to all truckers carrying cargo irrespective of it being essential or non-essential.
Punya Salila Srivastava, the joint secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs, during the daily press briefing on the Covid-19 situation in the country, said, “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 also added, “The empty trucks and goods carriers should also be allowed as they may be going to pick the cargo or returning post delivery of the consignment.”
She has explicitly clarified that no permit or pass is needed by trucks and goods carriers for the transportation of cargo across the country.
Ms. Srivastava has also urged district authorities to actively help truckers to commute from their homes to the location of their trucks.
Despite the government’s intervention earlier this month, approving the movement of trucks, massive lock jams were witnessed at state borders and along national highways.
Kultaran Singh Atwal, President of All India Motor Transport Congress, while commenting on the clarification of the Ministry of Home Affairs, said, “This has been the result of our consistent follow-ups and escalation of the issues regarding non-implementation of the MHA directives at the ground level.”
Following the lockdown, It was reported that almost half of the number of drivers have left for their native towns and villages resulting in a huge pile-up of vehicles at inter-state borders, with some even leaving behind vehicles loaded with goods worth crores of rupees unattended along the highway. Transporters also reported incidents of stranded trucks being looted at locations such as the Maharashtra – MP border.
The clarification by the government has come as a fresh breather for trucking companies as well as truck drivers who have their vehicles stranded in various parts of the country.