Covid-19: Home Secy writes to states to ensure supply of essential goods

Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla has written to states to ensure the availability of essential goods by invoking provisions of the Essential Commodities Act 1955.

The Home Secretary urged state chief secretariesto prevent hoarding and black marketing.

The letter read, "The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) vide its orders under the Disaster Management Act have allowed manufacture/production, transport and other related supply chain activities in respect of essential goods like foodstuff, medicines and medical equipment. However, there are reports of loss of production due to various factors, especially reduction in labour supply. In this situation, the possibility of inventory building and black marketing, profiteering, and speculative trading and the resulting price rise of essential goods cannot be ruled out."

"States and Union territory governments are advised to take urgent steps to ensure availability of these essential goods, by invoking provisions of the Essential Commodities (EC) Act 1955. These measures include fixing of stock limits, capping of prices, enhancing production, inspection of accounts of dealers and other such actions," the letter read.


Essential Services Management Act has been implemented with immediate effect to better manage #CoronavirusPandemic in Madhya Pradesh: Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan (File photo)

— ANI (@ANI) April 8, 2020
"Offences under the EC act are criminal offences and may result in imprisonment of 7 years or fine or both. States/Union territory governments may also consider detention of offenders under the Prevention of Black-marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980," the letter said.

It further read, "Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Government of India are authorising States/Union Territories to notify order under the EC Act 1955 by relaxing requirement of prior concurrence of the Central Government upto June 30,2020. I would urge you to personally take urgent steps to ensure availability of these commodities at fair prices for public at large.

Covid-19: Supply of essential goods hit as only 15% trucks plying on roads

Transporters are finding it difficult to streamline the supply chain of essential goods with only 15 per cent of trucks plying on the road amid the 21-day nationwide lockdown to control the coronavirus pandemic, the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) has said.

AIMTC, the apex body of transporters in the country, both cargo and passenger, represents around 10 million truckers and 5.5 million tourist buses and operators.

"We have approximately 1.25 million trucks with national permit. But during the period of lockdown, only 200,000 to 250,000 trucks with national permits are on road," news agency ANI quoted AIMTC President Kultaran Singh Atwal as saying. Read more...

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