Lack of clarity disrupted ‘essential’ goods movement

Mamuni Das New Delhi | Updated on March 30, 2020

After a nation-wide lockdown was announced on March 24, the country saw disruption in the movement in many goods, including chemicals used to clean hospitals, reagents used in diagnostic kits, protective gears, many of which should have been deemed as ‘essential goods’, admitted several arms of the government in a high-level meeting last Friday.

Following the meeting of the Logistics Committee for Covid-19 Relief Operations, the Home Ministry on Sunday issued a notification stating that all goods without distinction of essential and non-essential will be allowed to be moved across the country.

Moving reagents

At the Friday meeting, the Consumer Affairs Ministry complained that there was lack of clarity between food and grocery items. Hygiene products should be considered ‘essential’ items, the Ministry official added. Even the Indian Council of Medical Research reported that they were facing problems moving reagents for diagnostic kits to various locations from Delhi and Pune.

Proctective gears

Distributing protective suits within the country (from Himachal Pradesh to Delhi) was a major problem, pointed out the Textile Ministry official.

Following the lockdown from March 25, there were problems with respect to movement of goods and people and faced problems on the police high-handedness. Commerce Ministry official also stated that drivers, who were unable to offload cargo, were unable to work due to shortage of food.

A global leader in hygiene products 3M said it was unable to distribute chemicals, which were necessary for cleaning and maintaining hygiene at hospitals, residential complexes and warehouses.

Abandoning trucks

Logistics start-up Mavyn's Sachin Haritash said truck drivers feared the police and were not willing to drive on the highways. They are abandoning the trucks at the nearest possible points, and heading home.

The All India Motor Transport Congress, on Monday, said the communication issued by the Home Ministry on Sunday night has not percolated to the authorities at check posts, leading to harassment, extortion and beatings.

Meanwhile, the Northern Railways said it would run its first parcel train carrying essential items like dry milk powder from Moga in Punjab to Changsari in Guwahati, Assam, according to an official release.

Published on March 30, 2020

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