Transporters call for suspension of toll collection following the reverse migration and Maharashtra curfew

trucking industry

As the nation witnessed an uptick in the second wave of the pandemic, recording the highest number of single-day cases (2 lakh+ in the last 24 hours), many states like Maharashtra, Delhi, etc have implemented localised lockdown or similar curbs.

The localised lockdown in the Industrial state like Maharashtra and similar curbs implemented in the capital has once again started affecting the casual workers, causing reverse Migration.

The Indian trucking Industry which is fighting tooth and nail to reach its pre-COVID number while tackling the issues of increasing freight rates, fuel prices, e-way bill challenges, etc is anticipating a breakage in the supply chain caused by the Reverse Migration among drivers.

The industry fears that the Reverse Migration among drivers coupled with Ground Harassment may cripple the Supply Chain of Essential Commodities. Following the same AIMTC, a Transporters’ apex body on Wednesday urged the Maharashtra government to suspend toll collection at nakas in the wake of a 14-day state-wide curfew.

The Government of Maharashtra has issued guidelines to contain the surge in Covid cases in the State of Maharashtra.
Although, as per the new guidelines the movement of inter-state and intra-state movement of essential and non-essential goods vehicles is allowed the transport fraternity has its own set of concerns based on its experiences of lockdowns 2020, said Bal Malkit Singh, Chairman (Core committee) AIMTC.

It has been reported to us that transporters-even those engaged in the transportation of medicines and oxygen- are also facing trouble in the field and are being harassed for no reason.

AIMTC has urged the government to take strict measures against the harassment faced by those engaged in transportation services of essential goods as there is already reverse migration among drivers, cleaners, and helpers’ segment and if this situation persists, then there will be disruption in the supply chain of essential commodities.
It added that the transporters are themselves taking care of those drivers and staff by themselves. They have even put 2 to 3 drivers on stand-by mode to maintain a smooth and seamless supply chain of vaccines, medicines, and essential commodities.

The apex body says that if the situation does not improve in the near future, the government should consider sops such as tax waiver, EMI moratorium, and extension of third-party insurance.

AIMTC has asked the government to provide with the following aid:

i)To issue strict instructions to the officials to refrain from harassment and extortion of drivers and crew members by field officials manning the nakas.
ii)The supervisor and support staff employed in the supply chain of essential services be allowed to travel in public transport, without hassles.
iii)Similarly, workshop, tyre shop, spare parts, dhabas, and eateries be allowed to function to maintain continuity of services.
iv)Toll Collection should be suspended and the Toll roads be made free as done last year.
v)The drivers and transport staff must be recognized as corona warriors and be provided priority vaccination and Covid Insurance as they are the most vulnerable segment of society.
vi) Free parking during lockdown and corona period
vii)If the situation does not improve in the near future then, Tax Waiver, EMI Moratorium, and Extension of Third-Party Insurance, E-way Bill & Documents Validity be considered empathetically.

The apex body which claims to represent around 95 lakh truckers and entities has raised the above issues with the topline in Maharashtra viz. Uddhav Thackeray, Chief Minister, Home Minister, Transport Minister, and the Transport Department of Maharashtra, it said.

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