Chandigarh, March 24 – Union food processing industries minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal today assured industry associations that their request to allow food processing units to remain open as well as allow employees free access to the units was being considered sympathetically and due guidelines would be issued regarding this by the Ministry of Consumers Affairs.
Various industry associations had approached the Union minister and detailed the need for allowing food processing companies to keep their manufacturing units open and exempt them from any executive order or Section 144 restrictions. It requested that the such units’ distribution and sales channels, including food delivery services, should not be hampered due to restrictions imposed on the general public due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The associations also requested that instructions be issued to State authorities not to call for the closure of food processing units as they manufactured food stuff which was necessary to maintain uninterrupted supply to the people.
It also requested that necessary instructions be issued to State governments to allow workers of retail outlets, pharmacies and manufacturing units unhindered access to their units in discharge of their national responsibilities. Similarly, it was requested that all transport vehicles carrying raw material and other food material be allowed travel to their destinations to ensure uninterrupted movement and supply of goods and services to the people.
Mrs Harsimrat Badal said the food processing ministry was doing its best to ensure smooth supply chains for essential food commodities in the present difficult circumstances. She said the problems being faced by the Food Industry due to the current lockdown were taken up with the Cabinet Secretariat and Ministry of Consumer Affairs (MoCA) and guidelines were being finalized for maintaining essential supplies, to prevent shortage of food.