Guwahati: The 24-hour All India Transport Strike (Chaka Bandh) against the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill has crippled normal life across the country and Assam.
The Chaka Bandh has been called by the All India Motor Transport Organization as a mark of protest against the proposed Motor Vehicles (MV) Amendment Bill that was recently passed in the Lok Sabha and is awaiting affirmation in the Rajya Sabha. The protesters are also demanding the withdrawal of hike in insurance premium and restricting the price hike in petroleum products.
Almost all the trade unions, except the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-linked Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh(BMS), are participating in the protest.
The Motor Vehicles Bill which has been passed in the Lok Sabha is expected to face much resistance in the Upper house as the opposition MPs stand united against the bill.
If passed by the Parliament, the Motor Vehicles Act Bill will allow the Central government to take away certain powers of the state governments. The Amendment shall also bring substantial changes in the old MV Act of 1988 and exercise stricter rules and higher penalties for discrepancies.
The protestors hold that the amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act will mainly affect the autorickshaw drivers. It will also nullify the permit system for private buses, resulting in costlier goods transport.
In Karnataka, only private taxi players will support the bandh. Cab aggregators Ola and Uber have also extended their support to the call, however, Namma Metro Namma Metro and auto rickshaw services are expected to be operational.
In Kerela, Vehicles, including private buses, auto rickshaws, taxis, freight vehicles and most of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses, will stay off the roads.
Chaka Bandh in Guwahati (Assam):
The capital city of Assam Guwahati is reeling under the pressure of the Chaka Bandh called by the All India Motor Transport Organization. While the private buses have wholeheartedly supported the Chaka Bandh, Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) buses are providing their services, although the vehicles are bearing an overburden of commuters. Autorickshaws and e-rickshaws are however operating as normal. The private cab aggregators like Ola and Uber in Guwahati have kept their services functional, however, there has been a huge surge in their prices owing to the lack of available transport options for commuters during the Chaka Bandh.
It now remains to be seen that whether the administration takes up the issue beforehand or the irked public has to quantify their wrath over the ongoing problems that are being faced repeatedly.