Truckers breathe easy as curbs on inter-State transport go

The transport sector, which was badly hit with the prolonged lockdown, got a breather with the removal of curbs over the inter-State transport. The Union government allowed transporters to ply vehicles to all States from June 8. Goods movement will be on track in the State with the free movement of exports and imports through lorries.

Although the government had given many relaxations during the lockdown-3, industries and business houses could not get materials from other States with the ban on inter-State movement of vehicles. Many pharmaceutical companies and other industries located in Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts could not get raw material from other States with the lockdown imposed on March 24. The textile business was also affected since the markets of these two districts completely depend on Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and West Bengal for materials. Cashew industry in Palasa-Kasibugga has also got relief with the removal of curbs on movement of vehicles. The transport sector welcomed the relaxation. But said that the industry would be able to resume its activity only when the Union and the State governments extend helping hand. AP Lorry Owners Association vice-president M. Janakiram Reddy said that the government’s support to the industry was need of the hour to begin full-fledged operations. “The transport sector could not get any direct financial package from the Union government. At least now, The Centre should announce a package since lorry owners were burdened with payment of EMIs to banks and private financial companies. The government should also waive tax and insurance premiums for at least one year,” he said.

‘Lack of manpower’

North Andhra Lorry Suppliers Association leader Gude Vasu said that the demand for vehicles would improve only when the economic activity is revived. He said that vehicles were ready for goods transport but lack of sufficient manpower is a problem. “Many drivers and cleaners had left for their native places with the lack of work and livelihood for the last two months. Bringing them back to the work will be a Herculean task since coronavirus continued to pose threat to their lives,” he added.