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Coronavirus impact: Labour shortage making trucks line up at APMCs

Last updated on March 27, 2020

Ramesh Rambiya, a Navi Mumbai-based dealer, has rice loaded in 5 trucks ready to be unloaded. Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, there are not any labourers obtainable in an in any other case busy Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) market teeming with individuals able to do the job.

“The trucks came from Delhi on Monday. But the unloading has yet to be done as most of the labourers have left for their villages. With great difficulty, I managed to get some of them from the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation and get two out of five trucks unloaded,” mentioned Rambiya.

Rambiya’s is among the 700-800 lorries within the APMC which have arrived from the northern India ferrying grains and different necessities however have remained unloaded as a consequence of an acute shortage of labour. The market that feeds the Mumbai Metropolitan Region and a number of other elements of Maharashtra has been shut because the announcement of the 21-day lockdown. Low on provides of fruits, greens and different necessities, it’s anticipated to open on Saturday for a quick time, in line with one of many merchants.

Close to 500,000 truckers, together with the cleaners, had been stranded at the state border verify posts throughout the nation until Wednesday because the policemen posted there wouldn’t enable them to go forward as a result of lockdown. Following an intervention by the street transport division and stress from the commerce our bodies and transport companies, the trucks had been allowed to go away for his or her locations on Wednesday midnight, mentioned SP Singh, senior fellow at Indian Foundation of Transport and Research Training. But with manufacturing facility gates, warehouses, and APMCs shut, they’re now piling up at the doorway. “It’s like landing from fire into firing pan,” mentioned Singh.

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Owing to the lockout, solely half of 5 million medium and heavy business automobiles are plying on the highways, in line with the Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training.

Meanwhile, the battle for meals continues for the truckers. With dhabas shut they’ve been surviving by cooking the cereals and grains they carry alongside for the lengthy journey, mentioned a transporter. Some states, together with West Bengal and Odisha, have issued notifications to district magistrates to permit clean motion of trucks carrying necessities. They have additionally ordered dhabas, eating places, restore outlets, and petrol pumps to stay open each 20 kilometers.

“We are trying our best to help the truckers. But there is only so much that we can do. Our hands are also tied,” mentioned Balmalkit Singh, chairman of the All India Motor Transport Congress.

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade has set up a management room to observe in real-time the standing of transportation and supply of important commodities.

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