Operator sets his truck on fire in protest against Punjab govt’s move to scrap unions
There are 134 truck unions in Punjab that collectively operate 90,000 trucks. Around 70% of them are engaged in the transportation of foodgrain.Updated: Aug 04, 2017, 19:10 IST
Two days after truck operators set a truck on fire in Nakodar against Punjab government’s decisionto disband Truck Operators’ Unions, another truck operator set his truck on fire in Rampura Phul in protest against the decision. The Punjab cabinet had recently approved the Punjab Goods Carriages (Regulation and Prevention of Cartelisation) Rules, 2017, which bar goods carrier operators from forming cartels or unions.
As part of the protest, truck operators burnt copies of the state government’s notification on the issue opposite the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM’s) office in Rampura Phul.
Meanwhile, chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh reiterated on Friday that the government will not take back its decision.
There are 134 truck unions in the state that collectively operate 90,000 trucks. Around 70% of them are engaged in the transportation of foodgrain.
President of Rampura Phul Truck union Karamjit Singh said, “After the protest, all transporters went inside the union office. However, truck owner Mahinder Singh, one of the protesters, went to towards his parked truck and set it on fire.” He added that some of other protesters were also caught unawares at his action.
“This was the only truck he owned and since the disbanding of unions, he had not been getting any work. This was his way of expressing frustration,” said Balwinder Singh, Mahinder’s brother.
Protest across state on Aug 8
Karamjit Singh added that a state-level protest will be held in Jalandhar on August 8 on this issue. Transporters also plan to set trucks on fire at five locations across the state on August 16. Truckers are holding a meeting on Saturday to chalk out their course of action.
Members also announced to observe a one-day ‘Chakka Jam’ on August 23 to park their trucks on the roads to ensure a complete shutdown.
Anti-govt slogans raised in Jalandhar
Jalandhar Truck operators from Jalandhar gathered outside the district administrative complex and raised slogans against the government for banning unions in the state.
All Punjab Truck Operators’ Union president Happy Sandhu said the decision to disband truck unions has adversely affected small transporters. “We have approached the state government and the cabinet minister several times in past months against this decision. Employment of thousands of people is at stake,” he added.
He added union members had decided to stage a protest against the government’s decision for two weeks this month.
“We are giving the government a last chance to revise their decision and save lives and business of many small operators. In case this is not done, we will intensify our protest after August 25,” he said.
TRUCKERS’ PROTEST PROGRAMME
Aug 8: A state-level protest will be held outside the district administrative complex in Jalandhar
Aug 16: More trucks will be set on fire in protests at five districts, which are yet to be finalised
Aug 18: District-level dharans will be held across the state
Aug 23: A one-day ‘Chakka Jam’ will be observed when truckers will park their vehicles on the roads to ensure a “complete shutdown”