Press Trust of india

Ensure seamless inter-state truck movement during lockdown: Centre to states

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New Delhi:  The Union Home Ministry on Monday asked states and union territories to ensure seamless inter-state truck and goods carrier movement, saying it is necessary for supply of essentials and keep the wheels of the economy rolling during the COVID-19-induced countrywide lockdown.

Addressing a press conference, Home Ministry Joint Secretary Punya Salila Srivastava said the ministry in consultation with the road transport and highways ministry has issued a toll-free number ‘1930′ on which truck or goods carrier operators can call to lodge complaints.

In case they are travelling on a national highway, they can also contact the National Highways Authority of India’s helpline number ‘1033′ to lodge a complaint pertaining to the lockdown, she said.

“The ministry has urged states and UTs (union territories) to ensure that no impediment comes in the inter-state movement of trucks and goods carriers which is necessary for uninterrupted supply of essential items and to give boost to economic activity,” she said.

Srivastava said the home ministry’s control room number ‘1930’ is working 24 hours and seven days a week, and has handled 12,000 complaints till May 3.

The officer said seeing increasing cases of police officials contracting COVID-19, the ministry in consultation with the Bureau of Police Research and Development and the health ministry has issued guidelines to protect themselves while working in the field.

The home ministry has issued an advisory to all states, union territories and Central Armed Police Forces, drawing their attention to health ministry guidelines and standard operating procedures on safety at work, she said.

The home ministry had issued fresh guidelines on May 1 to be followed from Monday after flagging districts in three zones– Red, Orange and Green–based on spread of COVID-19, she said.

Red zones are districts where sizeable number of COVID-19 cases were detected or areas which were declared hotspots. In orange zones, only a few cases were found in the past with no increase in the number of positive Green zones will be in the districts where there is no COVID-19 case.

Reiterating the Ministry of Home Affairs’ zone-wise lockdown relaxations, which came into effect from Monday, Srivastava said in red zones, outside containment zones, certain activities are prohibited in addition to those prohibited throughout the country which include plying of cycle and auto rickshaws, taxis, vehicles of cab aggregators; intra and inter-district buses; and opening of barber shops, spas and salons.

The country has reported 42,836 confirmed COVID-19 cases so far, a health ministry official has said.

A nationwide 21-day lockdown was announced on March 24 to check the spread of the novel coronavirus as social distancing is possibly the only way to prevent people from getting infected. It was further extended till May 3 with certain relaxations.

In the second extension for two weeks announced on May 1, some district-wise relaxations were given depending upon the colour of zone.

Delhi is in the red zone limiting any liberties enjoyed by its citizens during the extension.

The home ministry had said the lockdown measures so far have led to “significant gains” in the COVID-19 situation and some activities will remain prohibited throughout the country, irrespective of the zones.

These include air travel, rail, metro and inter-state movement by road, running of educational and training institutions, hospitality services, cinema halls, malls, gymnasiums and sports complexes.

All social, political, cultural and other kinds of gatherings and religious places or places of worship for public will also remain shut, as per an order issued by the home ministry.

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