New Delhi: The home ministry on Sunday has asked State governments to allow unrestricted movement of transport vehicles carrying essential and non-essential goods.

In a letter to chief secretaries of all States, Home secretary Ajay Bhalla said that instances of trucks not being allowed to move freely could create a shortage of essentials amid the nationwide lockdown on account of Covid-19.

It has come to the notice of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) that in some parts of the country, guidelines issued on March 24 about the implementation of lockdown measures in the country are not being implemented in letter and spirit, Bhalla said in the letter, pointing out that trucks carrying essentials and non-essentials were being detained, while workers required for manufacturing of such goods were not bring given authorisation passes for their movement.

“The said restrictions, with regards to activities specifically permitted by MHA, have the potential of creating shortages of essential commodities,” Bhalla said.

Inter-state and intra-state movement of all trucks and other goods or carrier vehicles with one driver and one additional person is allowed, as long as the driver is carrying a valid driver’s license, Bhalla clarified.

Empty trucks should also be allowed to operate while on way to pick up goods or returning after completing a delivery, he said, while directing local authorities to actively facilitate movement of truck drivers and cleaners from their place of residence to location of trucks.

Among other instructions, MSMEs engaged in manufacturing if essential items like wheat flour, pulses, and edible oils should be allowed to function freely, Bhalla said.

These instructions, among others, will apply to all areas other than those requiring containment, quarantine, and surveillance measures— hotspots, in essence, the Home Secretary said.

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