The Ministry of Home Affairs on Thursday said that no separate passes were required for inter-state movement of trucks carrying goods or returning after deliveries, amid the nationwide lockdown to control the spread of Covid-19.
In a letter to states and Union Territories, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said there have been reports that local authorities are not allowing trucks to move freely and are insisting upon separate passes.
“No separate passes are required for the through traffic of trucks and goods carriers, including empty trucks,” the home ministry official wrote. “This is essential for maintaining the supply chain of goods and services across the country during the lockdown period.”
The home ministry directed states to allow movement of all trucks and other goods carrier vehicles with two drivers and one helper, provided they showed valid driving licenses.
“Accordingly, all states and Union Territories shall ensure that district authorities and field agencies are informed of the above instructions, so that there is no ambiguity at the ground level, and movement of through traffic of trucks and goods carriers, including empty trucks is allowed without any hindrance,” the home ministry added.
There has been no word from the Centre yet on whether the nationwide lockdown ending on May 3 will be extended. On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting with chief ministers via a video-conference to discuss the post-lockdown strategy to deal with the coronavirus crisis. The chief ministers of several states had suggested that the nationwide lockdown be extended for the second time.
On Wednesday, Punjab extended its curfew till May 17, allowing four-hour daily relaxation in areas not designated as red zones or containment zones.
The number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 33,610 on Thursday evening and the toll increased to 1,075, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The health ministry, however, said, that India’s Covid-19 recovery rate has improved from 13% to 25% in two weeks.