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Sunday, Oct 20, 2019

Punjab truck operators protest disbanding of unions by Amarinder govt

93,000 truckers kept their vehicles off roads, claimed Punjab truck union chief Happy Sandhu

punjab Updated: Jun 29, 2017 09:27 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh, Bathinda
Truck union members​ protesting opposite the mini-secretariat in Bathinda on Wednesday.
Truck union members​ protesting opposite the mini-secretariat in Bathinda on Wednesday.(Sanjeev Kumar/HT Photo)

Truckers in Punjab observed a day-long “token” strike on Wednesday to protest the Congress government’s decision to dissolve all 134 truck unions in the state. Punjab Truck Union chief Happy Sandhu said that 4 lakh families in the state earn their livelihood through the business.

“We held dharnas at the sub-division level, and the stir was 99% successful,” he claimed. “But there was no major impact on the public or those who wanted to make their goods move from one place to another, because it was a token protest.”

He said the stir was joined by Left parties, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) activists. “The protesting truckers submitted memorandums to sub-divisional magistrates (SDMs) addressed to the chief minister, demanding cancellation of the decision to dissolve all truck unions,” Sandhu said.

He flayed the government for holding truck unions allegedly responsible for the failure of manufacturing sector in Punjab. “Industry has failed because of faulty policies and vested interests of political parties in Punjab and not because of truckers,” he said, adding that industry failed in industrial towns like Rajpura, Gobindgarh, Khanna, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Batala despite the fact that there is no truck union in these towns.

“On the contrary, despite the presence of very strong truck unions in nearby industrial towns like Tahliwal, Nalagarh, Baddi and Paonta Sahib in adjoining Himachal Pradesh, industry has been flourishing at a rapid pace just because that state has a very strong industrial policy,” Sandhu said.

Truck operators of Bathinda, Goniana and Bhucho gathered outside the district administrative complex in Bathinda. Similar protests were held in Rampura Phul, Talwandi Sabo and Maur. District president of the Bathinda Truck Operators’ Union, Tehal Singh said these unions are not set up by the state government but by transporters themselves.

“Unions ensure that small transporters with few trucks get work in time and also get properly paid,” he said. “At present there are about 93,000 trucks with 134 unions in the state, while about 35,000 trucks are not enrolled with the unions,” he added.

He said there might be “problems in some truck unions”, and the government should act against people who are doing something wrong in the name of truck unions.

First Published: Jun 28, 2017 18:47 IST

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