6 lakh trucks off road in Bengal, export-import hit

Wed, Aug 21, 2019

KOLKATA: The perishable goods and export-import business was hit as nearly six lakh trucks remained off road in West Bengal following an indefinite strike called by the truck owners and operators on Monday.
The truckers are demanding a 25 per cent increase in the maximum Safe Axle Weight for goods vehicles and protesting on host of issues including police excesses and hike in third party insurance premium.
"There are around 8 lakh trucks in the state and nearly 90 lakh people including driver, helper, labourers, cleaners etc. are involved in the day-to-day work. Due to the strike around 6 lakh trucks haven't left the garage," Federation of West Bengal Truck Operators' Association General Secretary Subhash Chandra Bose said.
According to him, nearly 40-45,000 vehicles enter Bengal daily. Due to the strike, 1,400-1,500 vehicles carrying goods like eggs, onion, and fish have been stuck at Sonakania border. Also, around 400 trucks loaded carrying vegetable out of Bengal are also not moving.
"The total export and import of goods in different border areas of Bengal are closed," he said.
The truckers say they are finding it difficult to run their business and so they are seeking a revision of the Safe Axle Weight.
"The central government has already increased the axle load. The Safe Axle Weight (carrying capacity) has been increased throughout the country but not here. We want the state government to increase it upto 25 percent," Bose said.
He said the Federation is also protesting against excesses by police and Motor Vehicle Department officials in the state, third party insurance premium hike, delay in getting fitness certificates and demanding implementation of GST on petrol and diesel.
"We want Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to discuss with us so that there is a transparency in all the mechanism and our problems are solved in order to restore business," Bose added.

Area: 7096 Sq Km
Altitude: 5,840 ft
Population: 6.10 Lakhs
Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 ft. to over 28,509 ft above sea level
Summer: Max- 21°C ; Min – 13°C
Winter: Max -13°C ; Min – 0.48°C
Rainfall: 325 cm per annum
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