Transporters demand suspension of toll collection in Maha during curfew

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STATE TIMES NEWS

MUMBAI: Transporters’ apex body AIMTC on Wednesday said reverse migration of drivers could impact supply chain, and urged the Maharashtra government to suspend toll collection at nakas in the wake of a 14-day statewide curfew to contain the rising number of COVID-19 cases.
The All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), which claims representing around 95 lakh truckers and entities, in a statement also said 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.
“Reverse migration among drivers coupled with on-ground harassment may cripple supply chain of essential commodities. We request the government to suspended tax collection on toll roads and make them free as last year,” it said in the statement.
The Maharashtra government has issued guidelines to contain surge in COVID-19 cases in the state.
AIMTC Chairman (Core Committee) Bal Malkit Singh said in a statement that though the movement of essential goods vehicles is allowed, the transport fraternity has concerns based on its experiences of lockdowns 2020.
He added that the transporters, even those engaged in medicines and oxygen supply, are allegedly being harassed by the people manning toll nakas for no reason. The government to issue strict instructions to the officials to stop such harassment, Singh said.
“We implore the government to look into this aspect, and strict instructions be issued to the implementation authorities to not harass those engaged in transportation services of essential goods, as there is already reverse migration of drivers, cleaners and helpers,” he said. The drivers and helpers engaged in supply of essential medicines and oxygen are working on war footing and many have contracted corona in the process, AIMTC said. It added that the transporters are themselves taking care of those drivers and staff by themselves.
Transporters have even put two-three drivers on a stand-by mode to maintain a smooth and seamless supply chain of vaccines, medicines and essential commodities, it said.
The AIMTC also urged the government to allow supervisor and support staff employed in the supply chain of essential services to travel in public transport, without hassles.
It also demanded permitting workshop, tyre and spare parts shops, dhabas and eateries to function to maintain continuity of services.
The drivers and transport staff must be recognised as Corona Warriors and be provided priority vaccination and COVID-19 insurance, as they are the most vulnerable segment of society, Singh added in the statement.