Other States

Coronavirus | Assam’s neighbours worried by stamping of truckers

Locals maintain social distance as they stand in a queue to buy vegetables, supplied by the State Food Supply department, during day-3 of a nationwide lockdown, imposed in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, at Ganeshguri in Guwahati, on March 27, 2020.

Locals maintain social distance as they stand in a queue to buy vegetables, supplied by the State Food Supply department, during day-3 of a nationwide lockdown, imposed in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, at Ganeshguri in Guwahati, on March 27, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Because of a geographical advantage, essential commodities first reach Assam by train or road before being transshipped to neighbouring States.

Assam’s neighbours are worried by the screening and stamping of truck drivers and handymen assigned transportation of essentials amid a countrywide lockdown.

The hill States in the Northeast surrounding Assam largely depend on supplies from outside the region. Because of a geographical advantage, essential commodities first reach Assam by train or road before being transshipped to the neighbouring States.

The Meghalaya government has taken the lead in pointing out that truckers bringing essential goods were being screened, stamped and sent to quarantine in Assam. Some truck drivers sent from Meghalaya to fetch essentials have met the same fate too.

“This has created a serious problem for Meghalaya,” State’s Chief Secretary M.S. Rao said, adding that he wrote a letter in this regard to his Assam counterpart Kumar Sanjay Krishna on Thursday.

Assam State Fire and Emergency Services workers spray disinfectants amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 disease during total lockdown in Guwahati, on March 26, 2020.

Assam State Fire and Emergency Services workers spray disinfectants amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 disease during total lockdown in Guwahati, on March 26, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

‘Supplies will be hit’

Mr. Rao said stamping and quarantining of truck drivers and handymen from Meghalaya done routinely would lead to delay in ensuring adequate essential commodities in the hill State. He also pointed out that depots and unloading points in Assam were giving preference to trucks destined for the districts of Assam.

“I would gently advise caution and medical certainty on the issue, so that only those exhibiting symptoms are stamped for quarantine,” Mr Rao said in the letter.

Officials in Meghalaya said there would be very few truckers left to transport essentials if they were stamped and quarantined in Assam at the present rate.

Mr. Krishna said he had taken up the issue with the authorities concerned. “[There is] no stamping if the trucker is asymptomatic,” he told The Hindu on Friday.

States such as Nagaland and Mizoram have also been facing similar issues with trucks passing through or are fetching supplies from Assam.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 8:07:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/coronavirus-assams-neighbours-worried-by-stamping-of-truckers/article31181077.ece

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