By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, February 20: The Assam State Committee of the All India Road Transport Workers’ Federation (AIRTWF) is going to hold a convention at Lakhiram Baruah Sadan in Guwahati tomorrow to chalk out their strategy and raise protest against the move taken by the Centre to replace the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 with the Road Transport and Safety Bill, 2014. The Federation said the Bill would be grossly out of sync in the prevailing road and other insfrastructure in Assam as well as elsewhere in the country.
In a statement issued to the press today, the secretary of the Assam committee of the AIRTWF, Biren Sarma, said: “The new Bill has some clauses that will be grossly out of sync in the prevailing road condition in Assam and elsewhere in the country. Such clauses will be detrimental to our country as they are aimed at imposing heavy pelties on drivers for every accident.”
In a statement issued to the press today, Federation secretary Biren Sarma said: “The Bill has clauses that favour seven-year to life imprisonment and fines from Rs 10,000 to Rs 3 lakh for an accident. In a country where footbridges are almost absent and pedestrians still cross roads risking their lives, such pelties are too heavy to bear for drivers. The clauses will have their detrimental effects on the drivers and their families. If this Bill is passed to make a law, a large number of poor families will get broke and more and more drivers will be seen behind bars.”
Sarma said that they invited workers representatives from Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Aruchal Pradesh and Tripura to the convention. He said that on December 18 last, around 10,000 transport workers had staged dhar in Delhi in protest against the Bill and sent a 28-page memorandum to Prime Minister rendra Modi. “Preparations are on for country-wide agitation against the Bill from March,” he said.
According to the Federation, the Government of India wants to form the Motor Vehicle Regulation and Road Safety Authority of India (MVR), the tiol Road Transport and Multi-Model Cooperation Authority (NRT) and the Highway Traffic Regulation and Protection Force (HTRPF). “If these three bodies are formed, the vehicle and road taxes being collected by the state governments on the country will go to the Centre,” the Federation said, and added that it would hit the state exchequer hard.