New Delhi, April 5 (IANS) The Central government on Sunday directed the states to prepare a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to ensure inter-state movement of pharmaceutical employees, while maintaining proper protocols and social distancing.
The order comes amid reports that some pockets in various states have been creating hurdles despite the government’s April 3 order to exempt the pharmaceutical manufacturing units from the 21-day lockdown period.
To address the problems of such pharmaceutical firms, Joint Secretary, Home, Punya Salila Srivastava said that Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Sunday wrote to the states concerned to extend complete support to such manufacturing units in their respective areas.
“The Home Secretary has written to the Chief Secretaries of all states and asked them to prepare a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) with proper protocols and social distancing to ensure inter-state movement of employees working in pharmaceutical units.
“Our detailed guidelines on April 3 allow for the inter-state movement of the employees of those sectors as well,” she said at a press briefing.
“As per the guidelines, the manufacturing and movement of essential items and their raw materials is permitted. The government has given permission for the manufacturing and packaging of essential goods like pharmaceuticals, medical devices and their raw materials in the guideline.”
Srivastava also said that the Home Ministry has appointed area officers for various states who resolve essential supply related matters if any such arises.
“For this, they consult concerned authorities so that there is no problem in the movement supply of essential items.”
She also said that inter-state cargo movement has already been allowed and that Indian Railways has been making all efforts to ensure that there is no shortage of sugar, salt and edible oil for consumption of the common man during the nationwide lockdown. The loading, transportation and unloading of these essential commodities has been in progress in full swing during this period.
During the last 13 days from March 23 to April 4, Railways loaded and carried 1,342 wagons of sugar, 958 wagons of salt and 378 wagons or tanks of edible oil. One wagon contains 58-60 ton consignment.
Indian Railways has also said that the freight movement is being closely monitored by officials at a very senior level and issues which were earlier being faced by Railways at many terminal points in loading and unloading operations are being effectively resolved.
Indian Railways, along with the Ministry of Home Affairs, is keeping in touch with state governments to sort out any such operational issue if they arise, the Railways said.