Maharashtra waives fresh RT-PCR test requirement norms for truck drivers moving cargo

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 16, 2021

Trucks with essential commodities stuck at its borders

Maharashtra on Saturday waived a part of its latest lockdown norms that required drivers and helpers entering the state with trucks from outside to show negative results of RT-PCR tests done not more than 48 hours before the trucks entered the state. The drivers and helpers will now be checked for temperature and their status on Aarogya Setu app, as per the new rules of Maharashtra.

As per the new order of Maharashtra, each cargo truck can have maximum of two people (driver and a helper) generally, or three people (two drivers and a helper) for emergency vehicles. Such trucks will be permitted into the state only after they are checked for temperature control or other symptoms; and rechecked for status on Aarogya Setu app. If anyone is not found safe based on these parameters, then they will be directed to nearest COVID care centre for further investigation. The order -- termed Break the Chain – has been read by BusinessLine.

The move follows transporters union – All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) – writing to Maharashtra Chief Minister, Transport Minister, Home Minister and all top government officials – pointing them that this rule – which was introduced on May 12 -- was difficult to implement practically and could throw the supply chain -- of materials going into the state and through the state to other states -- off gear.

“On Saturday morning, when Maharashtra’s norms were implemented on ground, thousands of trucks were stranded at the entry of about 37 border check post of Maharashtra. They were carrying medicines, hospital equipment, oxygen concentrators, perishables in cold storage vehicles, FMCG, pulses, wheat and rice. We flagged it to Additional Chief Secretary to CM, Ashish Kumar Singh. The vehicles were released and fresh guidelines were issued,” Bal Malkit Singh, Chairman – Core Committee and former President, AIMTC, told BusinessLine.

With persistent follow-ups by AIMTC at the highest level, we were successful in getting revised guidelines regarding mandatory requirement of negative RT-PCR Test for drivers in Maharashtra. “Earlier in the day, we got instructions from Chief Secretary office issued to the field officials to release the vehicles immediately. This was done promptly and the vehicles were released,” stated Kultaran Singh Atwal, President, AIMTC in a release.

Incidentally, Centre’s rules for inter-state movement of goods – issued last week – had waived the need to have RT-PCR tests.

Published on May 15, 2021

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