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

Topics Coronavirus | healthcare | Lockdown

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.

Atwal said that the government should let transporters open their offices and issue passes, especially to those who are engaged in transporting essential goods.

Meanwhile, Rajender Kapoor, president of the Delhi Goods Transport Organisation, said: "Our office staff cannot move from loading to unloading points for supervision as they do not have passes... We have around 10 million trucks registered with our associations but we don't have drivers to drive trucks, no labour to load or unload the essential goods as they left for their native places due to the lockdown," Kapoor added.

According to the guidelines of the Union home ministry, drivers do not need passes; they can ply with valid driving licences if they are carrying essential goods.

However, according to Kapoor, trucks to Coimbatore, Nagpur or Kolkata have been stranded due to the lockdown. Meanwhile, Praveen Khandelwal, general secretary of the Confederation of All India Traders, has suggested that the process of obtaining passes should be eased.

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