From A Correspondent
Shillong, Sept 8: The Meghalaya Commercial Truck Owners’ and Operators’ Association (MCTOOA) on Friday alleged that the Transport and NGT checkpoints in East Jaintia Hills set up for detecting coal-laden trucks to cement factories is a total failure.
“There is completely no check on coal-smuggling trucks that are regularly supplying coal to cement factories every night in East Jaintia Hills District,” MCTOOA member T Wardkhar alleged.
Wardkhar also said that for reasons best known to the Transport Department, full liberty and relaxations are given to trucks transporting produces of cement factories origiting from East Jaintia Hills and going to Assam via Ratacherra and Jowai.
He said trucks carrying clinkers are always overloaded beyond the permissible capacity and passes through the transport checkpoints in East Jaintia Hills where Transport Department officials are stationed, but the checkpoints allows them to pass through freely.
“Big time transportation of clinkers and cement by highly overloaded trucks is glaringly going on during the night hours regularly,” he said.
Wardkhar also said that despite the Meghalaya High Court order banning all kinds of mining in the State till rules or policies are framed, boulder mining is still going on in large scale in Jaintia Hills and boulder export to Bangladesh is thriving at its peak via Dawki now.
“And all those trucks exporting boulders to Bangladesh are overloaded, thus damaging several stretches of the road. The government is expecting general public to comply with its various orders and directions, but when it comes to itself, even the court order appears to be irrelevant and toothless,” the MCTOOA added.
The association also pointed out that recently the West Jaintia Hills district administration has started mobile court on tiol Highway 44 to check overloading and coal smuggling trucks. But, according to it, these exercises have turned out to be futile as those overloaded clinker, cement and coal-carrying trucks are not bothered about the officials sitting by the highway.
The MCTOOA said it has become a common practice and undeclared policy of the Transport Department and police to station their personnel near the highway for checking goods-laden trucks other than at the notified checkpoints, which has allegedly led to a spurt in robbery and looting of trucks.
“The incidents of highway robbery and looting of trucks can be attributed to such a practice by the police and Transport Department,” Wardkhar alleged.
He pointed out that on many occasions crimils took advantage of the situation by impersoting as government officials and stop the goods-laden trucks, only to loot and rob them.
“We won’t mind if the government officials stop trucks at the police stations or notified transport checkpoints for checking, but not in a random way by stopping trucks anywhere on the highway,” Wardkhar said.
Meanwhile, the association has appealed to the Transport Department and police to enforce Motor Vehicles Act in letter and spirit on all carriers, irrespective of the goods they are transporting, and ensure no favouritism is extended to any particular section of transporters.