India’s Minister of Transport Nitin Gadkari has urged all the states and union territories to ease movement of trucks carrying essential goods across inter-state borders.
India had been under a nation-wide lockdown imposed by the central government since March 25. The lockdown is expected to be lifted on May 3. The central government had eased restrictions on the movement of trucks while extending the lockdown on April 14. Industrial units located in rural areas and in non-hotspot areas have also been allowed to resume partial operations with a reduced workforce and in compliance with social distancing guidelines.
The minister urged state governments to ease the movement of goods and also speed-up the pace of development of road/highways infrastructure projects by two to three times in the next couple of years to generate demand and revitalise the economy. During the meeting, various ongoing projects were discussed. Around 1,315 roadways projects covering 49,238km are under progress, out of which 819 projects covering 30,301km are delayed due to the lockdown. Various state-specific issues including pending land acquisition, environment clearance are delaying projects. The minister has asked states to take prompt measures to clear the blockades or difficulties faced by infrastructure developers.
Demand recovery in the construction sector is expected to increased demand for finished steel products such as rebars and beams.
Steel mills based in Raipur have seen some improvement in the movement of steel-related products from Chhattisgarh to various other states of India including Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat from last week and are hoping that situation will improve further. Rebar mills in Mumbai restarted dispatch of finished steel this week. Mills have also started receiving new orders but in limited quantity.