A delegation of the United Front of Transport Associations is likely to meet Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday in an effort to get their demands, which includes reduction of the penalties specified in the amended Motors Vehicles Act. The transport ministry told the Association that since states were free to accept or reduce the penalties, it should approach the Delhi CM.
“ But Delhi Police report to the Union Government,” the transporters complained. But Delhi Government collected the fines, the Joint Secretary retorted.
As for the other demands, including fixing Rs-5-lakh ceiling for insurance claims, Joint Secretary Priyank Bharti told the delegation that the ministry would look into them.
Frustrated transporters told NH on Monday evening that their strike call in Delhi-NCR for Thursday, September 19, had not been called off yet. Autos, taxis, tempos, private and state buses and also app based vehicles would all go off the roads, they warned. Even the transporters supplying essential goods to Azadpur Mandi in Delhi will be a part of the strike.
However, talks are on with the Central government and Delhi government regarding their demands. “We want the government to withdraw the exorbitant hike in penalties, stop assessment of presumptive income under Section 44 of IT Act, not limit liability of insurance companies to Rs 5 lakh in case of third party insurance and implement social security schemes for drivers as has been promised by the Modi government,” explained Harish Sabharwal, UFTA chairman.
After the protest at Jantar Mantar on Monday, the transporters, who were supposed to have met the transport minister Nitin Gadkari, were able to only meet the joint secretary Priyank Bharti. “During the meeting Bharti washed his hands off the issue. He said that the states can take their own decisions. He asked us to meet Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. In fact, Bharti insisted that we meet Kejriwal to put forth our demands regarding the hike in penalties. They said they will look into the insurance limit,” said Sabharwal.
The members of the transport union said that they did tell the join secretary that Delhi Police was under the Central government, but Bharti decided to twist the issue. “He said that Delhi government is the one that gets these taxes, so they should be able to refuse to implement the new Motor Vehicle Act. The Delhi governments transport department can send it to the LG and then he can decide. But, it should come from the Delhi government,” said Sabharwal.
The members of the transport association will be meeting the Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday, September 20, on the matter of the fines. “At least tomorrow it will be clear who can take the decision. Our strike is still on. We have not called it off,” underscored Sabharwal.
“We are informing everyone so that the citizens are aware they may not get essential products on Thursday, September 19. Only private vehicles are likely to be on the road on Thursday as even the Delhi State Transport Authority Operators Ekta Manch has decided to support the strike,” said Shyamlal Gola, UFTA general secretary.