Stopping the plying of overloaded trucks owned by mining mafia and politicians is becoming a major challenge for the transport department.
These trucks, dangerously overloaded with minerals like sand, maurang (coarsesand), blast and the like, continue to ply thus openly flouting the Motor Vehicle rules, the Supreme Court and high court orders.
In the process these trucks are not only damaging roads but also endangering road safety besides causing revenue loss to the government.
To recall, the transport department, directed by the state government, had started a crackdown around a month ago on trucks carrying load in excess of the prescribed limit.
The move helped in stopping plying of all such trucks almost completely, barring those transporting minor minerals (sand, blast etc).
“The principal secretary of our department called a meeting a month ago and asked us to stop plying of overloaded trucks at any cost failing, which he warned in no uncertain terms that action would be taken against the RTOs and ARTOs,” a senior transport officer told the HT, claming “The officers got the message and stopped plying of overloaded trucks within days.”
The transport bosses, however, admit that the trucks that ferrying sand, maurang, blast etc were beyond the department’s control. “We have no qualms in admitting that we have not been able to check plying of overloaded trucks with sand and blast,” admitted many transport officials.
Sources said that since the mafia and politicians controlled the mining business hence it always proved to be a hard nut to crack for the transport department.
“Against the permissible limit of 16 tonnes, these trucks often ferry 40-50 tonnes of load in violation of all the rules,” said a senior officer who was once posted in Bundelkhand, the region known for minerals.
He said that trucks were loaded with sand etc in excess of the permissible load limit at the mining site itself with a connivance between mining department staff and lessees (contractors) and the RTOs and ARTOs also often turn a blind eye to them, willingly or unwillingly when they come to ply on roads.
He said that trying to stop these overloaded trucks meant endangering your own life because of the mafia involved in the lucrative business.
“Last year, ARTO RK Singh was grievously injured when a mining-mafia-owned truck overloaded with sand rammed into him when he tried to stop it for checking,” he recalled.
He suggested overloading of mineralferrying trucks could be checked only at the source of mining and not on roads.