Confusion and lack of knowledge of the ePass rules issued by government, State police have become an irritant to paddy and rice merchants of Arani, sources revealed.
While both the Central and State governments have repeatedly stated that vehicles carrying essential commodities should not be stopped and that they should be allowed easy access to their destination, in reality it is different says affected traders. Rice loads to Chennai have now dwindled to 15 loads each of around 12 tonnes per day from the earlier 40 loads, according to CN Arun, secretary of the Arani Taluk Paddy and Rice Merchants Association.
“In some places near Chennai loads have been stopped by police who demand to see the ePass and a lot of time is wasted in convincing them that there is no necessity for such a document,” he said.
“However the low demand was due to Chennai residents stocking up during panic buying sprees and social service organisations distributing rice to most people,” he added.
But what irked traders was that even when they had valid ePasses they were stopped by officials at district borders. Citing an example, Arun said “a senior member Appandairaj travelled from Arani to various places including Tiruvallur, Vellore and various locations in Chennai to collect payment.”
“Starting from Arani, he entered Vellore district at Tamaraipakkam where officials checked his temperature and after noting down his vehicle, ePass and mobile numbers allowed him to continue. But all this changed, while returning he was stopped at Damal on Ranipet district border where an official said the pass was only for intra district travel despite the pass clearly stating that it was for travel outside the district,” Arun said. “When he offered to contact Tiruvannamalai DIC (District Industries Centre) which issued the pass the official refused to talk and was unmoved even when Appandairaj said he would show the bills and the cheques received in payment. Finally, he approached a police inspector who after checking the ePpass asked the official to allow the vehicle as the pass was in order,” he detailed.