Pointing to “local level restrictions on movement” of people and goods still “being imposed by various districts/States”, the Ministry of Home Affairs wrote to States Saturday that there can be “no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement”, as stipulated in the July 29 guidelines for Unlock-3.
In a letter to Chief Secretaries of all states, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said: “Such restrictions at local level imposed by the District Administration or by the State Government amount to violation of the guidelines issued by MHA under the provisions of Disaster Management Act, 2005.”
MHA officials said Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have been frequently sealing inter-state or inter-district borders in the name of containing the spread of the coronavirus, leading to disruption of supply chains across the country.
Officials said although the MHA has sent multiple reminders to the states, the problem has persisted.
“Earlier, UP and Haryana were frequently sealing their borders with Delhi, leading to serious problems for movement of medical professionals and goods in the NCR. This problem was finally resolved with the intervention of Home Minister Amit Shah who held meetings with the NCR states and ushered in an integrated approach for Covid-19 containment in the NCR. Now Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, badly affected by the pandemic, are frequently sealing their borders, particularly inter-district borders. This is causing a lot of problems as goods and services bound for other states are getting stuck because they are not being allowed to transit via these states. It completely defeats the Centre’s efforts to bring the economy back to life,” a senior official of the MHA said.
In his letter Saturday, Home Secretary Bhalla drew the attention of the states to para 5 of the July 29 guidelines for Unlock-3 which makes clear that “there shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods. No separate permission/approval/e-permit will be required for such movements. This includes movement of persons & goods for cross land-border trade under Treaties with neighbouring countries”.
“It has, however, been reported that local level restrictions on movement are being imposed by various districts/States. Such restrictions are creating problems in inter-State movement of goods and services and are impacting the supply chain, resulting in disruption of economic activities and employment, besides affecting supply of goods and services,” Bhalla said, directing states to “ensure that MHA guidelines… are strictly followed”.
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