Inter and intra state transport was paralysed in the state on Thursday when over 1000 roadways buses remained off the road during a countrywide one-day strike against the Road Transport and Safety Bill 2014.
The commuters were the worst hit by it as they had to hire costlier transport in the absence of buses.
There is a countrywide protest against the bill as it reportedly proposes stringent penalties on bus drivers in case of traffic violation and paves the way for shifting the control of the country’s core road transport system to the central government, transport and roadways associations alleged. They said the strike was participated by 2500-odd drivers working with the Uttarakhand Road Transport Corporation.
Uttaranchal Roadways Employees’ Union president HT Bahuguna said the bill was aimed at curbing “our rights” and promote privatization of the state transport system, which might end up taking jobs of the drivers and conductors.
The protesters also burnt an effigy of union transport minister Nitin Gadkari.
Out of 1000 buses with corporation, 700 run between states and the remaining 300 operate within Uttarakhand. Commuters faced difficulties due to the strike. Chintan Goyal, a commuter, said, “I had to leave for Shimla today for attending my cousin’s wedding. But, due to the strike, I will have to hire a taxi which is 10 times expensive.”
Dinesh Rawat, a shopkeeper at Shimla Bypass, took a cab for Srinagar to deliver documents to his daughter studying at HNB Garhwal University.
Residents give bill a thumbs-up
Heavy penalties and stringent checks on traffic violators through Road Transport and Safety Bill 2014 get thumbs up from social activists and locals in capital.
With over 1,000 new vehicles registered with the regional transport officer (RTO) Dehradun every month, traffic remains a prominent issue in the city.
The bill levies Rs50,000 for rash driving, Rs10,000 for drunken driving and Rs1,000-6,000 for over speeding. The bill proposes to replace the existing Motor Vehicles Act with a regulatory body to enforce traffic laws.
President Doon Residents’ Welfare Front Mahesh Bhandari said, “We need strict rules to maintain traffic. Since the formation of the state, the population of the city has grown from 50 lakh to over one crore. With this the traffic too has increased and so have the road accidents. Hefty penalty will keep a check on traffic violators.”
Residents said the penalty under the Motor Vehicle Act had been so nominal that it failed to deter violators. The Act proposes Rs2000-3000 or 2 years imprisonment for drunken driving, Rs1000-2000 or 2 years imprisonment for rash driving and just `500 for overspeeding.
The residents said the increase in the penalties would help check traffic violations.
Anjul Negi, a resident of Indira Nagar said, “Young boys do stunt riding in our locality which is a threat for them and others too. To check them, we need to charge a heavy penalty.
Brig (retd) KG Behl, now a social activist, said the bill addressed the issue of safety standard maintenance in vehicles. He said, “It’s good that the rules will keep a check on government drivers too that are often found driving rashly and overspeeding.