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Centre asks states to exempt food processing units from section 144 to keep them rolling

Nirbhay Kumar     March 25, 2020

The Centre has asked states to exempt food processing units from restrictions imposed under section 144 or any other executive order to allow them rolling for continuous supply of essential food items.

The exemption would also include distribution and sales channels servicing the food and beverages market, food delivery services and other related activities.

The Commerce Ministry has also directed the states and Union Territories (UTs) to issue clear advisory to ensure inter-state movement of trucks carrying goods for the food processing industry and e-commerce firms.

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"Your attention to this item of work will go a long way in maintaining requisite flow of essential goods, preventing panic purchase and ensuring we all keep safe in these challenging times," Guruprasad Mohapatra, Secretary, Department for promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry has written to states and UTs.

As the nation has gone for complete lockdown for 21 days from March 25 to fight deadly Covid-19 pandemic, supply of essential food items is key to the success of the precautionary step. While announcing the three-week lockdown on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured that the government would ensure supply of all essential items and medical services during this period.

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There has been a rise in coronavirus cases in the country with total infections reaching 519. With the death of a 54-year old person in Tamil Nadu, the fatality from the deadly virus has climbed to 11.

As longer lockdown has been necessitated in the wake of recent spike in Corona cases, the government is taking all measures for uninterrupted supply of essential goods and services, especially of food items. In its letter to states, the DPIIT Secretary Mohapatra has asked states to allow transport vehicles carrying raw materials and intermediates to food processing units.

"Transport vehicles carrying raw material, intermediates to and from the food processing units to be given due permission and this to be explicitly included in the local administration orders to avoid any confusion," Mohapatra wrote in his letter to states.

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