Delhi-NCR transport strike today against hefty fines under new traffic rules
Cluster and private buses, auto-rickshaws, a section of app-based cabs, trucks and RTVs will go off the roads on Thursday in Delhi-NCR region in response to a transporters’ strike against the steep hike in traffic penalties under the amended Motor Vehicles Act.
The strike comes days after Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said the new law has improved traffic situation on Delhi roads.
The United Front of Transport Associations (UFTA), an umbrella unit of about 41 transport associations in Delhi-NCR announced on Wednesday that privately owned transport vehicles such as buses (except DTC), auto-rickshaws, cabs and trucks will not ply on city roads on Thursday.
Watch: Nitin Gadkari defends heavy traffic fines, says ‘time to follow traffic rules’
“Our main demand is that the exorbitant penalties under the amended MV Act should be reviewed. It is nothing but a source of corruption. While the government has increased the fines, it has not supported it with any infrastructure. Why do we still not have any scientific evidence of challans? Traffic inspectors still are not equipped with body-worn cameras or collar microphones. The government has assured that an ACP or SDM rank official will issue challans of higher value, but that did not happen,” said Harish Sabharwal, chairman, UFTA.
“On Thursday, it will be a one-day strike. But, we will have a general body meeting in two-three days. By then, if the Central or state government do not come up with a solution, then we shall go on an indefinite strike,” he said.
Other members of UFTA said until Wednesday afternoon 34 transport associations in Delhi-NCR have come out in support and have committed to participate in Thursday’s strike. They said that the total expected per day loss in revenue of the transporters owing to the strike is going to be about Rs 23,000 crore.
Rajender Kapoor, convener of UFTA said they met chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday. “But, the CM only said he will look into it,” he said.
Kapoor said that strike is also against the Centre’s decision to limit third-party liability of commercial vehicles. “They have capped the insurance value to Rs 5 lakh only. Now if the court, for an accident, asks Rs 23 lakh as penalty, from where will the transporter or the owner of the truck pay up the fine?” he asked.
Among other issues, Kapoor added that the government’s decision to increase the rates of income tax for heavy goods vehicles has also not gone down well for the truckers.