Don't Stop Permitted Activities to Avoid Shortages of Essential Items, MHA Tells States

NEW DELHI: On Sunday it instructed states to allow the essential items manufacturing operation, streamline the issuance of passes for workers in these industries, and allow trucks and other freight vehicles to drive to avoid a shortage of essential items.

He directed states to ensure that there are no obstacles to the operation of small and medium industries involved in the production of flour and edible oil and in pulse processing as well.

In the letter to all the top secretaries, the Union Secretary of the Interior highlighted how the past issued by the Center was not being implemented in all its letter and spirit at ground level.

He cited how trucks carrying basic or nonessential products and empty trucks were being detained and workers were not obtaining clearance passes to report to essential items manufacturing units.

He also cited how letters of authorization from one state were not being respected by other states and even cold storage and warehouse operations were not allowed.

The letter said that such restrictions on permitted activities have the potential to create shortages of essential products.

Bhalla has said that the instructions should be conveyed so that there is no ambiguity at ground level and that the activities permitted by the home ministry are carried out without hindrance.

The instructions were issued just hours after the cabinet secretary held a series of meetings with different groups of secretaries.

TOI reported on Saturday that there is an increase in the prices of oil and edible vegetables in the cities.

The letter stated that all trucks within the state and within the state, whether loaded or empty with a driver and an additional person, should be allowed as long as the driver has a valid driver's license.

He said local authorities should facilitate the transfer of drivers and cleaners from their homes to trucks and the transfer of workers to their workplace for permitted industrial and commercial activities.

Bhalla said warehouses and cold storage should be allowed to operate freely for and from the movement of trucks.

However, the stipulations will apply to all areas other than areas that require containment, quarantine, and critical zones according to guidelines from the health ministry where state authorities have imposed restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.