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Caught in the crossfire

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SEALED: The premises of the Vijayawada Lorry Owners' Association office at Bhavanipuram which is closed. - Photo: Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar
SEALED: The premises of the Vijayawada Lorry Owners' Association office at Bhavanipuram which is closed. - Photo: Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar

G.V.Ramana Rao

Truck operators' agents left in the lurch

  • Power supply to agents' office disconnected
  • Truck operators have been evicted as per Court orders: city planner

    VIJAYAWADA: They eke out a living on commission. Members of the Bhavanipuram Lorry Suppliers Association act as agents for truck operators who park their vehicles in the Bhavanipuram lorry stand belonging to the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC).

    They operate from 35 offices adjacent to the lorry stand, charging between Rs. 100 and Rs. 150 for each truckload. The commission depends on the distance to the place where goods have to be delivered. Their lives depend entirely on the availability of lorries in the stand.

    But the fragile lives of the association members began to collapse when the VMC officials suddenly decided to evict the truck operators and closed the lorry stand a few days ago. With trucks not being allowed into the lorry stand, there is no income for the agents. As if to rub salt into the wound, the power supply to their office was disconnected a few days ago.

    Victimised

    Association general secretary N. Appa Rao says the agents are being victimised for no mistake of theirs. He alleges that the VMC officials have acted against them at the behest of truck operators. A group of truckers, who are members of the Vijayawada Lorry Owners Association, approached the court against the VMC against upward revision of lease amount. Though the agents do not know the outcome of the litigation, the VMC decided to evict them.

    The agents say that they have incurred the wrath of the VMC officials because some of them sided with the truck operators who moved the court. But the agents soon realised that the truck operators brought pressure on the VMC officials to seal their office too. Though the sealing did not happen, the power supply was disconnected.

    Legal grounds

    City Planner Venkata Ratnam says the truck operators have been evicted as per High Court orders. Though there are legal grounds to evict the agents too, action has not been initiated because Municipal Commissioner Natarajan Gulzar has not yet taken a decision on the representation submitted by them.

    Mr. Appa Rao says it will be suicidal for the agents to move with truck operators to the Jupudi Truck Terminal, 24 km away from the present location, as being insisted by the officials. Quoting the recent observations in the CAG report, he says that the truck terminal is not fit for occupation.

    As the tussle goes on, the future of the 350 families that eke out a living on the commission continues to be uncertain until the authorities decide their next course of action.


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