Centre agrees to consider demands of lorry owners
Members of the South Zone Motor Transporters' Welfare Association (SZMTWA) who had launched an indefinite strike on August 18, withdrew it on Tuesday after the Union Government assured them that a majority of their demands, including the one relating to collection of toll, would be considered.
In a release, president of the All India Motor Transport Congress G.R. Shanmugappa, who is also the president of the Federation of Karnataka State Lorry Owners' and Agents' Associations, said that the Government conceded transporters' demands on Tuesday after hectic parleys. As a result, the suspension of operations by goods operators in southern States – Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Pondicherry and Maharashtra – has been withdrawn, he said.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, in a release, said SZMTWA had presented several demands related to pending issues on toll, hike in third-party insurance premium, levy of user fee on the lane upgrade projects from four to six lanes on the completion of the project and amendments in Carriage by Road Rules, 2011.
Responding to the demands, the Ministry said it cannot disturb toll agreements on roads built on public-private partnership (Built-Operate-Transfer) model as it might impact further private sector investment in the road sector. However, regarding public-funded projects, the Ministry agreed to implement the new toll rates as and when they were notified in accordance with the agreement arrived at with the All India Motor Transport Congress. The Ministry has agreed, in principle, to the demands of the All India Motor Transport Congress for issuing notifications in respect of approximately 94 public funded projects which were completed prior to January 12, 2011. The process for issue of notifications in respect of these projects will begin urgently and completed as early as possible.
The Government has taken a positive view on some of the suggestions of the transport associations on Carriage by Road Act, 2007, and Carriage by Road Rules, 2011.