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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Commercial use of tractors goes on unabated in city

Ravinder Vasudeva , Hindustan Times  Ludhiana, October 10, 2013
First Published: 19:36 IST(10/10/2013) | Last Updated: 19:37 IST(10/10/2013)

The use of tractor trollies for commercial purpose in violation of the ban on the same is going unchecked in the city.

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In a recent order last month, the transport department even directed all enforcement agencies, including the district transports office (DTO) and the traffic wings, to issue challans and act as per the law against tractors being used for commercial purpose.

But these orders seem to have no value as the authorities have failed to check violations in this regard putting lives of commuters at risk. Since the constructions occur round the year, a large number of tractor-trolleys loaded with sand, gravel and other material can be seen on the city roads.

The traffic police and the transport department issue challans whenever the matter is highlighted in the media, but there had been no sustained effort to put a complete check on misuse of tractors.

After the government's ban orders, the DTO office here, on Monday and Tuesday, challaned a few tractor-trolleys.

"Since most tractor-trolleys belong to the politically well connected contractors, challaning them become a headache for us. When we challan them, they reach to our bosses or we receive calls from the political bosses,"stated a senior traffic police cop.

The Punjab government had banned the use of tractor-trollies for commercial purposes due to a rise in road accidents involving such vehicles.

However, hundreds of such vehicles can be seen plying on roads early morning when children are on their way to schools. Recklessly driven tractor-trailers carrying bricks and other construction material are a common sight, but enforcement officials turn a blind eye to the menace.

Sources said the decision to ban these vehicles for commercial purpose was made following the spurt in their use without paying any tax to the government. As tractors are primarily used for agriculture purposes, there is no tax levied on them. Due to an agriculture-dominated state, there are a large number of tractors here, which villagers rent out to contractors when they are not being used for farming.

DTO, Ludhiana, Anil Kumar Garg, when contacted, admitted the rampant use of the tractor-trolleys in the city. "It's not that we have not checked their use. In last few days, a few trolleys have been challaned but the issue needs special attention. We are planning to launch a special drive in this regard,"he assured.

What Motor Vehicle Act says As per provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act, a tractor-trolley can be used for commercial purpose after getting clearance from motor vehicle inspector office with the condition that tractor should have hydraulic breaks.

Officialspeak

"Many political leaders have urged me to give commercial permits to tractors, but I have always denied. Some even tried to pressure me, but told them I was ready to face transfer orders rather than issuing the wrong permit,"said, motor vehicle inspector, Naresh Kaler.

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