25 Mar Govt must ensure smooth flow of essentials between five southern states: LEAF
Officials manning checkposts must be apprised of details of government notification
Lack of clarity about the movement of essential commodities at the checkposts of the five southern states has become a cause of concern, says Palat Vijayaraghavan, founder and Chief Executive of LEAF (Lawrencedale Agro Processing India).
(LEAF has been playing a crucial role in ensuring adequate safe-to-consume fresh produce across the five southern states).
Emphasising the need for immediate intervention by the powers that be to ensure smooth flow of essentials between States, Vijayaraghavan told BusinessLine that the officials manning the borders should be apprised properly as the government notification clearly mentions that movement of essential commodities, including fresh fruits and vegetables, should not be hampered.
Curbs at every stage
“The authorities at checkposts are imposing restrictions. As LEAF has emerged as an established brand, we are able to push, albeit after multiple attempts. The going could be tough if we seek intervention at every stage and every day.
“The issue has been going on for the last 3-4 days. While we are able to send the produce from Coimbatore to Kerala, they are not allowing the return of empty trucks back to Tamil Nadu. How can the refill happen if the trucks are not brought back?” the founder of LEAF asked.
The company sends seven to eight truck-loads of fruits and vegetables to Kerala from Coimbatore every day. (The carrying capacity of each of these trucks is around 15 tonnes).
“Kerala is a big market for us. Now, with the closure of mandis, people have started to source stuff online. E-commerce players have started to source supplies aggressively from us. We have registered a 20 to 30 per cent increase in sales in the last 3-4 days.” He attributed this surge in sales to panic buying.
Asked if there was shortage of drivers, he said, “we ensure that the persons manning the vehicles are given cooked food, so they don’t go without food on account of eateries being shut.
There was some absenteeism, he conceded, “But 60 to 70 per cent of our workforce have been accommodated in the staff quarters, which is in the vicinity of the processing plant at Jadayampalayam on the outskirts of Coimbatore.”
The situation appears grim at this juncture, Vijayaraghavan said and pointed out that farmers too were not staying away from the field but reluctant about harvesting the produce since the mandis are closed.