Despite government directives to ensure smooth transportation of goods, more than 5,00,000 trucks are stranded at highways and inter-state borders.
While the government has allowed plying of trucks carrying non-essential commodities, the directives have not reached the regulators on-ground.
"There have been several cases where there have been FIRs against vehicles carrying non-essential commodities to Delhi. Although the government has allowed the trucks without discrimination, the sudden shutdown has led to non-receipt of goods even at the warehouses. More than 5,00,000 trucks are stranded. There is no labour to offload the goods," said Naveen Kumar Gupta, Secretary General, All India Motor Transport Congress.
As migrant labourers have gone to their native places, manpower is not available for loading and unloading of goods. According to Gupta, traders are not taking delivery as godowns, factories and warehouses are closed. Further, they may be facing financing issues as 90 percent of transactions are cash-based.
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Since the announcement of the shutdown on March 24, several trucks have been stranded on highways. Due to lack of availability of food and other amenities, most drivers have parked the trucks on highways.
Out of 5.2 million trucks in India, only one third of the fleet is working, according to the Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training (IFTRT).
"Truck drivers are now demanding 50-60 percent higher wages, which may result in higher cost of logistics for essential items," said SP Singh, fellow at IFTRT.
In the wake of the recent crisis, these operators lack the money for upfront payment of diesel, establishment and drivers.
With the approaching of harvest of rabi crops, the government is yet to demarcate a clear cut plan to handle the logistics to take the produce from the supply centres to the mandi centres.
Singh said there is an urgent need for a logistics plan as there is an expected bumper crop of 2,65,000 metric tonnes this year.Follow our full coverage here