Punjab on Wednesday claimed to have become the first state in country to launch an online National Permit system for trucks and heavy vehicles.

At a function held here, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal handed over permits to truck operators within minutes after they filed applications over the Internet.

Speaking on the occasion, Badal said Punjabi transporters are the backbone of the country’s transport system and it was the primary duty of the SAD-BJP regime to solve their problems on a priority basis.

He said that being from a family of transporters, he understood the problems faced by a transport operator at every ’Naka’ (check post) in every state and came out with a series of administrative reforms to make the life of truck operators easy.

Badal said that previously, obtaining a national permit was a cumbersome as well as costly process, with transporters being forced to shell out Rs 3,000 per state every year for the permit.

He said that he supported the principle of ‘one country-one permit’ and this national permit, costing Rs 15,000, would give freedom to truck operators to operate their vehicles across the country without any additional tax.

Badal also launched a unique SMS service for truck operators. This 24X7 SMS service would come to the aid of any truck operator who has been illegally stopped by any state authority.

A SMS by any truck operator would elicit an immediate reply by the Punjab Transport Department confirming the authenticity of the truck permit.