From Our Special Correspondent
Silchar, Feb 12: The 24 hour ‘wheel jam’ jointly called by All India Road Transport Workers’ Federation and All Assam Transport Workers’ Association from Monday has partial impact in Barak Valley. The jam has been called in protest against the rising prices of petrol and diesel. A spokesperson of All Assam Cab Operators’ Union in a statement justified the call for jamming wheels on the ground that during Congress rule, the fine for submission of any dues to be paid or any official papers or documents to be produced by the vehicle owners was Rs.5 per day if paid after due date which has now been hiked to Rs.50 during the present BJP dispensation.
This abnormal enhancement in realization of fine has created a lot of problems for both the owners and drivers and hence this voice of protest. The spokesperson claimed the jam has been supported by as many as 122 transport union bodies across the country. A report from the three districts of Barak Valley says though there is no impact of this call for wheel jam in Cachar and Hailakandi, owners of different modes of transport have joined the call given by All India Road Transport Workers’ Federation and All Assam Transport Workers’ Association in Karimganj district.
The report adds to say that besides lodging protest against hiked prices of petrol and diesel, the vehicle owners are also up against the latest amendment of Assam Motor Vehicles Act which does not address their legitimate grievances. They are also demanding that petrol and diesel prices should be regulated by bringing them under GST. Kishore Kumar Bhattacharjee, general secretary of Commercial Transport Owners’ Coordition Committee of Barak Valley, when asked about their stand on the issue of wheel jam said their association was not taken into confidence by the All India Road Transport Workers’ Federation and All Assam Transport Workers’ Association.
The question of extending support to them does not arise. “We also are concerned at the abnormal rise in the prices of petrol and diesel and we will soon convene a meeting of the Coordition Committee of 39 organizations of this valley to decide the strategy for wheel jam in a coordited and concerted manner,” pointed out Bhattacharjee. The cost of running vehicles and maintence has become an uphill task for owners and drivers. It is not only the spiralling prices of the petrol and diesel but also of the spare parts, all sorts of accessories and lubricants. In 2012, the price of diesel per litre was Rs.51 which is now Rs.67.52. The date for wheel jam across Barak Valley will be decided at the meeting of the Coordition Committee. He refused to attach much importance to the Karimganj wheel jam.