A recent Government Order revoking permits of nearly 20,000 lorries that carried iron ore from mines in Bellary, Chitradurga, Tumkur and adjoining districts to various ports over the years, in excess of permitted carrying capacity, has stunned personnel of the Department of Transport, as such action will amount to violation of provisions of the Karnataka Motor Vehicles Act.
Sources in the Transport Department told The Hindu that the Government sought action against the lorries based on information in theLokayukta's report on illegal mining submitted in July 2011. “The action that is suggested is apparently just eyewash, only meant to show that the report was being implemented,” according to a highly placed source.
Refusal to implement it
Officials in the Transport Department and several deputy commissioners have reportedly refused to implement the directions, as they are illegal per se.
Incidentally, the GO was issued by a Joint Commissioner of Transport, with the approval of top officials in the State Secretariat.
The D.V. Sadananda Gowda Government is keen on placing the Lokayukta report in the State legislature to seek the views of the members, and for this an action-taken report is also being prepared.
The lorries have together made 1.88 lakh trips between the mines and the ports. Besides, the ownership of many of these vehicles has changed and permits have to be surrendered prior to change of ownership permits.
There are 55 regional transport offices in the State and the heads of all these offices have been served with the GO, warning of serious consequences if the permits are not revoked.
In other words, the top brass of the Transport Department, rather than playing a supervisory role in the effective functioning of the department, are stated to be directing the subordinate staff to violate the law.
Sources in the Transport Department said that as a prelude to the implementation of the order, officials were asked to stop issuing fitness certificates to lorries forthwith; this too was resisted by the lorry owners.
Some lorry owners whose permits have been suspended by the RTO concerned have also moved court.
Ramappa, vice-president of the Federation of Karnataka Lorry Owners and Agents' Association told The Hindu that the question was whether action would be initiated now on a purported violation that occurred years ago.
The law clearly states that a truck carrying an overload of a consignment should be stopped en route to a destination and a check report prepared.