Auto drivers seek relaxations in scrappage policy

Autorickshaw drivers who own old vehicles that come under the new scrappage policy of the Centre have sought more time to comply with the regulations in the wake of COVID-19 induced financial crisis. In Kozhikode district, the majority of those who seek the relaxation are drivers who own diesel vehicles that are more than 15 years old.

Though some of the drivers have already replaced their vehicles with CNG and electric variants, many are finding it hard to do so owing to financial crisis.

The majority of drivers are now awaiting a favourable reply from the State government to sanction a reasonable financial aid to replace their old vehicles. They hope that a special aid in the form of an interest-free loan or subsidy will benefit them.

“At least there should be an option to screen old vehicles and permit the mechanically fit ones to operate. There are many well-maintained vehicles, which do not create pollution threat,” said Mekkayil Sreekumar, an autorickshaw driver from Eranhikkal.

A similar demand has been put forth by the Kerala Lorry Owners’ Federation (LOF) and goods autorickshaw operators. After the first screening, there should also be an option for vehicle owners to fix minor mechanical issues and produce vehicles again for further clearance, they said.

LOF functionaries said about 50% of the goods carriers in the country would have to be kept off the road if the government was strict with the implementation of the new scrappage policy.

The Motor Workers Federation affiliated to the Indian National Trade Union Congress has already called upon the Union government to consider some reasonable amendments in favour of the lower income group of operators in the sector.

Token strike

There will also be a token strike across the State on June 21 against the uncontrolled fuel price hike which has paralysed the motor workers’ industry, they said.

“Our demand is to re-examine the whole scrappage policy, which is in force from June 1. All political parties and unions are in support of the cause,” said the Federation’s State general secretary Manoj Edani.

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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 2:22:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/auto-drivers-seek-relaxations-in-scrappage-policy/article34824512.ece

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