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Truckers demand uniform policy

Freight transport issues dominated discussions on the concluding day of the regional meeting of National Transport Development Policy Committee on Tuesday.

Representatives of various goods transport bodies, including Bihar Truck Owners’ Association and Bihar Motor Transport Federation among others, raised demands related to uniform policies and overloading, toll tax and movement of trucks across the country among others.

“The permitted loading levels in trucks are 25 tonnes and 31 tonnes, which are not practical according to the prevailing needs. Thus, trucks are loaded with 75 tonnes at present. Considering the technological advancements in truck manufacturing, the permitted loading capacity should be increased by 25 per cent at least. There should be uniformity in terms of permitted unladen weight and dimension such as the height of trucks. At present, different states have different values for permissible weights and dimension of trucks, which impedes their movement,” said Bhanu Shekhar Prasad Singh, the president of Bihar Truck Owners’ Association. Singh also sought industry status for the transport sector.

“Many stretches of roads in Bihar, including Grand Truck Road and Motihari-Darbhanga-Assam road among others are declared as four-lane and six-lane ways but they continue to be two-lane. However, the toll tax in many two-lane stretches of roads in Bihar is charged according to rates of four-lane and six-lane roads, which is not ethical,” said Singh.

Prabhat P. Ghosh, director, Asian Development Research Institute, Patna said: “More than 40 per cent of the total area of Bihar is flood-prone owing to which a separate policy for such areas is required.” State transport secretary R.K. Mahajan said: “The national committee heard the opinions and demands of various stakeholders and state representatives of this region. Their views would be taken into account during formulation of the national transport policy in future.”