The Government of India on April 12, 2020 has issued a fresh set of clarifications regarding implementation of lockdown measures introduced by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on March 24, 2020. The MHA has noted that the guidelines as enumerated in the notification dated March 24, 2020 were not being followed in some parts of the country in true letter and spirit as a result of which restrictions were being imposed on different sectors in spite of receiving a clearance from the relevant government authorities. While the government has taken cognizance of several such arbitrary restrictions, it has identified some of them specifically, which are listed below:
- Detainment of trucks carrying essential and non-essential services.
- Workers needed for operation in manufacturing industries involved in essential services are not getting authorisations/ passes.
- Inter-state movement of goods and personnel mentioned in the above points are getting impeded as passes issued by one state government/ authorities is not being accepted by the other state authorities.
- Operations of cold storages and warehouses are not being allowed.
The government in this regard clarified that the above restrictions can subsequently result in creating shortages for essential commodities. Therefore, the government has yet again reiterated the following points for strict adherence by authorities at different levels.
- Inter and intra state movement of goods carrier vehicles irrespective of the nature of cargo, whether essential or non-essential
- Empty trucks and goods carrier vehicles should also be allowed to ply even if they are vacant for carrying essential or non-essential goods.
- Local authorities should ensure and undertake active facilitation of truck drivers or other personnel as allowed by the government. Further, they should also allow the movement of workers to permitted workplaces for any industrial/ commercial activities
- Ensuring availability of passes to Railways, Airports, Seaports and Customs
- Expedite the issuance of required passes for permitted workmen and also to ensure that the passes are being honoured.
- MSMEs engaged in essential items like food grains and edible oils should be allowed to function smoothly.
- Warehouses and cold storages also to be allowed to function smoothly irrespective of nature of goods whether essential or non-essential.
The above clarifications are applicable for all areas except those requiring containment, quarantine and surveillance measures as per the guidelines of Ministry of Health and Welfare. However, movement of persons and vehicles are subject to strict adherence of hygiene and social distancing norms. It was further reiterated that all the district authorities and field agencies follow the instructions at ground level without any ambiguity or hindrance.