As the country enters the extended lockdown period to arrest the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued its revised guidelines allowing selected additional activities to keep the wheels of the economy turning. The new guidelines will come into effect from April 20, 2020. India’s lockdown has now been extended to May 3, 2020.
In a big respite to the renewable industry, the construction of renewable energy projects will now be allowed from April 20th.
It is unclear how the workers can get back from their hometowns to project construction sites considering there is no public transportation until May 3rd.
The government has also allowed the construction of roads, irrigation projects, and all kinds of industrial projects, including MSMEs (micro small and medium-scale enterprises) in rural areas, outside the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities. The continuation of construction work within the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities will be allowed, provided that workers are available on-site, and are not required to be brought in from outside. “There should be a total ban on non-essential visitors at the site,” added the MHA.
However, these guidelines will not apply to areas requiring containment, quarantine, and hotspots as per the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).
The Ministry has also added that the generation, transmission, and distribution of power at the center and state/UT levels will continue to remain functional as before.
The government has also allowed manufacturing and other industrial establishments with access control in special economic zones, export-oriented units, and industrial estates and townships to operate. They should have a standard operation protocol in place and should arrange for the stay and transportation of its workers.
Further, the Ministry also stated that all goods traffic would be allowed to ply interstate and intrastate. Railways and Airports will be allowed to operate for movement of cargo. Operations of seaports and inland container depots (ICDs) for cargo transport, including authorized custom clearing and forwarding agents, will also be allowed.
The Ministry of Shipping had earlier issued a notice to major ports in the country with directions to deal with issues arising due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The Ministry, in its notice, had directed all major ports to ensure that no penalties, demurrage (charges to be paid to the owner of a chartered ship on failure to load or discharge the ship within the time agreed), charges, fees, or rentals are imposed on traders, shipping lines, concessionaires, licensees or other port users for any delays due to the lockdown in the country.
The government has enforced several measures to reduce the negative impact of COVID-19 outbreak on the industry. To track the initiatives taken by the government to fight the economic repercussions of the pandemic in the renewable industry, click here.
Anjana is a news editor at Mercom India. Before joining Mercom, she held roles of senior editor, district correspondent, and sub-editor for The Times of India, Biospectrum and The Sunday Guardian. Before that, she worked at the Deccan Herald and the Asianlite as chief sub-editor and news editor. She has also contributed to The Quint, Hindustan Times, The New Indian Express, Reader’s Digest (UK edition), IndiaSe (Singapore-based magazine) and Asiaville. Anjana holds a Master’s degree in Geography from North Bengal University, and a diploma in mass communication and journalism from Guru Ghasidas University, Bhopal.