As a mark of protest against hiked penalties under the new Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act 2019, Uttarakhand Parivahan Mahasangh has announced a one day strike on Wednesday. The president of the Mahansangh, Sudhir Rai, said that that the amended penalties are impractical. He said that in order to register protest against this Act, no commercial vehicle will operate in the State on Wednesday.
When asked whether they have a problem with following the traffic laws, he said, “The original law has been in existence since a long time. We do not have a problem with following the law but the penalties imposed are way higher that the bearable amount. From the fine of Rs 1,000 suddenly in one night, we are liable to pay Rs 10,000 that also with a provision of sentencing.
Regarding the strike, he said, “We are not giving this strike a form of Chakka Jam, we are all willingly not operating our vehicles tomorrow. Almost, every union in the State has agreed not to operate their vehicles for one day in protest.”
Rai further said, “Our meeting with transport commissioner, Shailesh Bagauli, was not productive. The hike in penalties will break the backbone of transport business, especially in Uttarakhand.”
About their demands, he said, “The State has the power to establish bearable compounding rates. The centre has issued its notification, but the State also holds some powers.
As the State Cabinet is slated to hold a meeting on Wednesday, we are hoping that our demands also will be taken into account. It is important for them to have healthy discussion on the matter. Employment in an entire sector which already going through the problems caused by recession is dependent on the decision that will be taken by the cabinet,” he said.
When told that there are certain offences that do not come under the provision of compoundable rates like drunken driving he said, “We do not promote drunken driving, but it is also important to understand that
when the owner of truck or dumper or any other vehicle is giving that vehicle to the driver he ensures that they are in the proper condition. Why are the owners liable for what the driver on the way has done wrong, the authorities should seize his driving licence or punish him, the vehicle owners should not be targetted.”
He further stated, “The amended Act has been made by taking cognisance of the condition in plains, but in mountainous regions the situation is different. These amended penalties can raise the concern of bread and butter in front of vehicle owners.”
It is pertinent to mention here that State
Transport Minister Yashpal Arya has stated that the Cabinet on Wednesday will be holding a discussion on compounding rates.