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The Covid-19 lockdown has turned out to be a testing time for all Indians. The country’s logistics sector has also faced a lot of roadblocks during this period. However, the sector is trying hard to recover, as evidenced by a slow but steady rise in truck mobility figures, as mentioned in our previous article – https://help.wheelseye.com/en/posts/2716/. There are huge challenges to still be faced and many problems to be solved by both the transport industry and the Government.
Transport associations like the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) have repeatedly highlighted issues like shortage of drivers, labour and loads from industries. Concerns have also been raised regarding the E-Pass system not working properly and local implementation of Central Government directives not being adequate.
On 28th April, Shri Nitin Gadkari (Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and MSMES) in a video conference with State Transport Ministers, urged all States / UTs to take swift action to clear blockades of trucks and lorries at inter-state borders. Some major points discussed during this video conference were:
- The clearing of such bottlenecks for trucks at inter-state borders is crucial for smooth movement of essential goods to various parts of the country.
- Nearly 3.5 lakhs trucks are stranded currently due to delays in inter-state clearance and screening.
- To prevent these delays, Shri Gadkari asked the Ministers to themselves intervene in these matters and arrange for quick resolutions in coordination with local / district authorities. All such initiatives should be in strict adherence to health advisories and other guidelines like proper distancing, wearing masks, use of sanitizers – both by the drivers / cleaners and also at the Dhabas.
- Shri Gadkari also mentioned that states should arrange for transportation of labour to factories, along with also providing them food and shelter. All these measures should comply with social distancing and health protocols like – maintaining minimum one metre distance, wearing masks, use of sanitizers,etc.
- The Union Minister also said that the ministry would be starting a helpline to resolve transportation issues (this was in response to a suggestion in the meeting).
The above directives from the Union Minister is an encouraging sign that the central government is proactively trying to ease the inter-state movement of trucks. As per the Empowered Group 5’s report on 27th April, the mobility of trucks carrying food and pharma has in fact risen from 46% to 76% between 30th March to 25th April. These developments, as also the impressive turnaround made by Chinese logistics, should continue to give some hope to India’s trucking community.
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