The district administration on Thursday had a tough time resolving the issue of alleged extortion of money from individual truckers in Rama Mandi from where around 250 trucks pass into the nearby oil refinery.
Deputy commissioner Diprava Lakra held a series of meetings with senior police officials and stakeholders in the transport business as those accused of harassing the truckers under the garb of ‘Rama Truck Union’ were also summoned for resolving the issue.
As the meetings continued, a group of individual truckers accused senior Congress leader Khushbaaz Jatana of “shielding and patronising the extortion mafia in the name of truckers’ union”.
Harpreet Singh, a trucker, who claimed to be a member of the Congress party, alleged that the group indulged in extortion had seized his truck, which was carrying a consignment to the refinery after he refused to pay ₹10,000 that he termed as ‘goonda tax’.
Meanwhile, Jatana, who lost to AAP’s Baljinder Kaur for Talwandi Sabo seat in the recent assembly elections, has denied any involvement. “I have no role to play in this truck business,” Jatana told HT on phone.
He, however, refused to give his opinion on the legitimacy of the truck union.
Those summoned by the DC on Thursday included Rachhpal Walia, an authorised transporter of the oil refinery, alleged extortionist Sukhwinder Singh alias ‘Guni’ and Vicky Garg, a transporter.
It has been learnt that the Bathinda oil refinery authorities had also taken up the matter with the Punjab chief secretary earlier this week. On March 11, a few transporters had raised voice against the newly announced executive of the so-called truckers union at Rama Mandi in the presence of Ghushbaaz Jatana’s personal assistant Sandeep Bhullar.
From tomorrow, the administration will not tolerate any trouble and stern action will be taken against those who try to indulge in any illegal activity or exploit the situation,” said deputy commissioner Diprava Lakra.