All India Motor Transport Congress has given a call

Opposing the increase in rates of third party insurance premium for all commercial vehicles, the Federation of Karnataka State Lorry Owners and Agents Associations has threatened to join a nationwide indefinite strike from April 1 called by the All India Motor Transport Congress.

The federation members have accused the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) of unilaterally deciding to increase the premium by 107 per cent. They are now urging the Union government to roll back the premium rate.

Addressing presspersons here on Tuesday, federation president G.R. Shanmugappa said that over 4.5 lakh vehicles comprising heavy motor vehicles, light motor vehicles and tourist taxis will go off the roads from April 1.

Support

Several goods transport unions, including the Karnataka Goods Transport Union, the Bangalore City Lorry Transporting Agents Association, the Bangalore Taxi Owners Association, the Karnataka Motor Cab-Maxicab Owners Welfare Association and the Federation of Goods Tempo Association, have extended support to the strike.

“As per the new tariff, effective from April 1, the lorry owners have to bear a premium of Rs. 11,600 to Rs. 24,600 per vehicle. Further, after allowing private insurance companies, the IRDA has scrapped the Pooling Fund which was fetching the government crores of rupees. We are demanding that the fund be continued,” he said.

Mr. Shanmugappa said that lorry owners have become victims of frequent increase in diesel price, exorbitant toll charges and harassment from officials of transport, commercial tax and police departments. The hike in premium rates has burdened them further.

Criticising the collection of toll charges, he said that toll menace started after the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) handed over maintenance of roads to private parties during 2007.

“The government is collecting huge amounts by way of permit fee and road tax apart from the toll charges. In some cases, private parties are collecting tolls even for unfinished roads,” Mr. Shanmugappa said.

The other demands of the federation include giving industry status to the transport business, one-time collection of toll, revision of fuel prices once in six months, uniform system of issuing documents relating to transport vehicles and fixation of minimum charges for goods transportation.