Freight traffic via check-posts picks up in Kerala

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Number of trucks that reached the State goes up from 573 on Wednesday to 948 on Thursday

The arrival of essential goods and commodities through the 19 check-posts on the State borders has picked up following a series of steps taken by the government to ensure that the COVID-19 containment measures do not affect freight movement.

But, the concern is the restrictions being imposed by Karnataka that has put a cap on the movement of only 60 vehicles through a check-post and hurdles such as creating soil embankments on the inter-State roads at Makkoottam. Efforts to remove the earth across the roads did not succeed despite several rounds of parleys.

Though Tamil Nadu has said that there will be no restriction on the movement of goods to Kerala, official sources said it was not percolating to the ground level and hurdles were being faced by trucks transporting goods. The war room set up for COVID-19 is monitoring the situation.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the government will operate fleets of cargo trucks cyclically and on a convoy basis to ensure that essential supplies, including foodgrains, reached the State unimpeded from production centres across the borders. Traders feared an imminent shortage of supplies if the authorities did not help restore essential freight traffic to pre-curfew levels urgently. The government has asked the Centre to release provisions, including pulses and edible oil, to include in grocery kits for COVID-19-affected persons.

Freight movement through the 19 check-posts is picking up over the last few days with the number of trucks going up from 573 on March 25 to 948 on March 26. The truck movement was 2,340 on February 25 and 2,158 on February 26.

Measures by Railways

Southern Railway has taken steps to move commodities. The major goods sheds for handling foodgrains at Palakkad, Edakkad, Karunagapally, Kottayam, and Kazhakuttam are being used.

In order to ensure the smooth operation of the supply chain of essential commodities, Southern Railway is running an average of 25 trains daily against a daily average of 80 under normal situation. On March 26, 57,000 tonnes of foodgrains, petroleum products, lignite, and coal were unloaded.

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