With obstruction to essential supplies continuing despite repeated reminders from the Centre, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has written to all states and pointed out that each item cannot be defined, so states must allow manufacturing and transport of all groceries and food item as generally understood.
The MHA also clarified that laboratories, including those for testing COVID-19 samples, are exempt from lockdown restrictions.
In a letter to all state chief secretaries, Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla wrote: “At the ground level, different interpretations are being made on items given exceptions, which hinder smooth flow of supply chain of these essential items…. Queries have been received as to what constitutes food and grocery. Since it is neither feasible nor desirable to mention each item of food and grocery in the guidelines, State/UT Governments are advised to interpret these terms to mean all items of food and grocery usually consumed by people on day to day basis.”
Bhalla said production, warehousing and transport of essential goods are included under exceptions and district authorities are issuing individual passes to businesses covered in the exempted category.
Stating that laboratories are “exempted from lockdown restrictions”, he wrote, “Opening up of temporary collection centres, movement of lab technicians and transportation of samples from collection centres to laboratories is to be allowed.”
With trucks carrying supplies facing obstruction at interstate borders, Bhalla stated that “inter-state and intra-state movement of all trucks and other goods/carrier vehicles with one driver and one additional person is allowed as long as the driver is carrying a valid licence”.
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