Transporters demand relief package;warn supply of goods, essentials will be hit

New Delhi, May 18 (PTI) Cautioning that movement of goods and essential supplies will be impacted if the government fails to announce immediate relief for transporters, AIMTC on Monday said that on the ground, the situation is deteriorating with every passing day and it is going to result in another major crisis.

The All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) is the apex body of transporters and represents about 95 lakh truckers and entities.

The coronavirus turmoil and the nationwide lockdown have taken the road transport ecosystem to dreadful levels, AIMTC said pointing out that about 30 per cent vehicles seen on the roads, those engaged in transporting essential supplies and delivering loaded stock, are being run majorly by owner-drivers and small operators.

'The movement of trucks, containers and other freight vehicles will not only affect the movement of goods from one state to another, but will also affect import-export. This will affect the supply of both essential and non-essential items.

The central government has announced an economic relief package for various sectors in 5 phases to revive the slowing economy due to the coronavirus epidemic. However, the central government did not take care of this sector while announcing the relief package,' AIMTC President Kultaran Singh Atwal said.

He said 95 lakh transport operators have no money to pay to the staff, give loan installments, vehicle insurance (motor insurance) and other fees.

'These vehicles are going to stop soon as they will not be able to pay hefty Third Party Premium, EMIs, Statutory Fees, Penalties etc. All of these have to be paid upfront without any bearing on, whether the vehicle will run, earn or not. The transport operators, big or small, cannot afford this as there is no earning,' he said.

AIMTC said truckers would not be able to pay their EMIs on June 1, 2020 and demanded that EMIs, State Taxes / Good Taxes / Passenger Tax / Motor Vehicle Tax must be extended for at least next 6 months, ideally for this financial year.

'If the government does not provide any package soon, the wheels of all vehicles carrying essential goods will stop automatically. If this happens, there will be a crisis on the availability of life-saving medicines and essentials in the country. Now driving a vehicle without insurance is risky and against law,' it said and added that the government should announce a relief package at the earliest.

The road transport fraternity is collapsing and the government's indifference to its legitimate demands has rippled a strong wave of discontentment and despair, it said.

'We would like to put on record that if urgent relief measures are not taken, the day is not far away when the transport sector will not be able to function, which is the factual position on the ground and the unfolding conditions will then be beyond our control,' it said.

AIMTC has submitted a White Paper and a Revised Minimum Rescue Package to the government and said if the government fails to take any action, lives of 20 crore people dependent on this sector will be shattered. PTI NAM NAM ANU ANU