The Director-General of Shipping, Amitabh Kumar, in his recent letters to nine states and three union territories, has emphasized the need for smooth operations of shipping activities during the lockdown.
It’s almost a week now that India is breathing under locks. From schools to organizations, all have been shuttered, except for some critical sectors. The exemption of these sectors aimed to ensure unhindered supply of essential goods and services to people; however, reports of interruptions have been coming to the authorities from related associations. These disturbances are upsetting the smooth operations of shipping activities during the lockdown.
Recently, the Indian National Shipowners’ Association (INSA) has protested to the Directorate General of Shipping (DGS) against local law enforcement agencies whose interruptions at some places have been obstructing Indian ships from getting essential services. These services encompass the supply of stores, spare parts, and provisions of ships, the supply of foodstuffs like freshwater, transportation of ships’ crew members, and ships’ information technology-related services.
Addressing the same issues, the DG Shipping has sent separate letters on March 27 to the chief secretaries of following states and union territories:
States: Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal
Union Territories (UT): Andaman and Nicobar, Lakshadweep, and Puducherry.
In the letters, Kumar has reminded the states and UTs about the exemptions given by the central government in 21-days lockdown. These exemptions include the movement of goods/cargo within and out of the State, operations of seaports, airports, and railways for cargo movement, evacuation, and relief, and related organizations’ operations.
Kumar has apprised the chief secretaries about the difficulties that the shipping industry has been facing in their states and UTs due to the interference of local law enforcement agencies. He has stated about the possibilities of disturbances that such interruptions can cause in the supply chain of goods. Ever since the lockdown has started, the government has been making constant efforts to make sure that the cargoes at Indian ports move uninterruptedly.
Highlighting all these issues, Kumar has requested the chief secretaries to ensure the untroubled facilitation of services essential for supplying spares and provisions to the ships and transporting ship’s crew within the city. He has requested them to advise the same to their local law enforcement agencies and any such concerned machinery of the State.
Through the letter, Kumar has made sure to explain the importance of smooth operation of shipping activities for the efficient functioning of ports and unbroken movement of cargo during the lockdown.