Since the turn of April, most of the parts of Maharashtra were in some form of lockdown before Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s decision last week to impose a near full lockdown on the state. While Thackeray for some reason best known to him refuses to term the current restrictions as ‘lockdown’, in reality it is nothing short of a lockdown and its effects are showing. Other states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar to name a few while aren’t under a lockdown per se but have some form of stringent restriction like night curfew. Due to the current restrictions, the country’s transport sector is facing a loss of Rs 315 crores per day.
Bal Malkit Singh, the chairman-core committee and former president of All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) stated that the country’s transport sector is facing heavy losses due to strict Covid-related restrictions across many states. “The shops are closed except those dealing with essential items, restrictions by the state government have started affecting the transport sector. The sector is facing a loss of 315 crores rupees per day due to the restrictions across the country,” said Singh.
He added, “The demand for trucks have curtail which as per our assessment is down by 50 per cent across the country, as far as the transport facilities are concerned the medical goods like personal protective equipment (PPE) kits, medicines, oxygen cylinders are transported these days including food items and grains so the rest items are fully ceased in few states including Maharashtra.”
Raising the issue of the well-being of the drivers Singh said, “The COVID-19 restrictions are crippling the poor truckers as they are already in the financial crises. They have to arrange for taxes, insurance, salaries for workers and drivers, establishment and administrative costs, and equated monthly installments (EMIs).”
It is unfortunate to see that the country’s economy suffering because of the failure of some of the state governments to effectively prepare for a potential second wave of the Wuhan coronavirus when there was a lull in the virus cases and the country seemed to be defeating the virus.
Maharashtra, with comparatively one of the strictest restrictions needs to get back on its legs at the earliest or else the country’s economy will take a severe beating. The home to the country’s financial capital continues to be in the claws of the virus and as long as the virus continues to wreck havoc in Mumbai, India’s economic recovery will only be half-baked. It is concerning that other states are taking a leaf out of Maharashtra’s book and imposing strict lockdown like restrictions which is a short term solution at best.