retail | IST

Logjams at checkpoints, warehouses continue as govt order fails to ease transporters' plight


Lakhs of drivers are stuck at check-points on highways, as police have disallowed trucks carrying goods to pass through borders amid the nationwide lockdown.

On the sixth day of the 21-day country-wide lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, transporters, who were caught unawares in transit by the orders, continue to suffer a logjam as government instructions fail to be implemented on ground.
CNBC-TV18 reported that lakhs of drivers were stuck at check-points on the country's national and state highways, as highway police disallowed trucks carrying goods to pass through the borders amid the nationwide lockdown.
Despite a comprehensive set clarifications issued by the Home Secretary to states on March 29 to allow the "transportation of all goods, without distinction of essential and non-essential" logistics service providers and transport associations have reiterate that the situation on ground has not improved, as lakhs of vehicles remain stranded.
The notification follows an order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday which said that a one-time clearance pass be provided to vehicles carrying non-essential goods so they can reach their destination.
Moreover, there are concerns that fresh orders could create more confusion for the industry. "
Closed warehouses and no movement at ports, including the JNPT port in Mumbai, India's biggest port handling about 65% of the country's container movement has ensured many drivers remain stranded.
Transporters' associations like AITWA and AIMTC receive dozens of distress calls from drivers stranded in various locations across the country, CNBC-TV18 has learnt. The fact that clear directions from the government in the matter haven't aided movement of trucks exacerbates the situation.
As a result of harassment by the police and unavailability of basic necessities, drivers are abandoning their vehicles to try and reach their hometowns.
Transport companies have flagged risks of a grave shortage of driver staff for the transport of even essential items, if the panic among drivers is not suspended and a pragmatic solution isn't arrived at.
CNBC-TV18 earlier reported that of the roughly one crore trucks that ply on Indian roads, most are in transit on national and state highways. As a result of the national lockdown orders, tens lakhs of these trucks got stranded at check-posts, not sure where to go, and without any provision for food or water.
A committee consisting of civil aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola and pharmaceutical secretary Dr PD Vaghela, called the Logistics Supplies Committee is the apex body entrusted with taking decisions to ensure the continuity of supply chain amid the COVID-19 lockdown.
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