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Amidst the steps taken to contain the spread of coronavirus in India, the Prime Minister announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown from the 24th of March. The announcement came in just a few hours before it was implemented.
Note: All images used are for representational purposes only.
The nationwide lockdown also meant that all state borders would be closed for the entire 21-day period. This has resulted in a major problem for truck drivers and goods transport vehicles which have been left stranded on the highways.
According to an ET Auto report, there are said to be around 3.5 lakh goods-carrying inter-state trucks left stranded. These goods include cars, bikes, white goods (refrigerators, ACs & other electrical items) and other perishable items (food, poultry & others) as well; all of which amount to over Rs 35,000 crore.
Apart from the large amount of goods, the other severe problem are the truck drivers. These drivers have unfortunately been left stranded, without any of the basic necessities available, such as utilities, food, water and money. The truck drivers are also worried about the perishable goods in their trucks as well.
Kultaran Singh Atwal, President, All-India Motor Transport Corporation, stated, "It is a painful situation for truckers and goods worth thousands of crores are literally lying on roads. Something should be done immediately to help us out."
Atwal did mention that trucks carrying food, medicine and other essential goods are allowed travel. However, there are many others with vehicles and other white goods who are left stranded at state borders or other checkpoints. Reports also suggest many drivers have left their trucks and headed back home.
Truckers are now seeking bailout packages and other forms of support from the government. They are demanding a six-month relief of road and goods tax payments, along with a six-month EMI break and an extension of national permits for the same time duration.
Thoughts On The Trucks Stranded On Highways During The Lockdown Period
With the nationwide lockdown period said to be extended, it is difficult to see the plight of truck drivers stranded at the state borders, without the basic necessities. However, the government is said to be looking into it, with a relief plan expected to be announced soon.