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Trucks to slam brakes over entry

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 14: Heavy goods vehicles will not ply on the roads starting January 15 midnight as truckers in Bhubaneswar have joined hands with All-Odisha Truck Owners’ Federation to press for a seven-point charter of demands.

While the federation has called the indefinite strike to demand reduction of state tax on diesel, fixing of minimum fare and reversal of the decision to allow a private body to check fitness certificates, the Bhubaneswar Goods Transport Association, also wants the government to relax the ban on the entry of goods carriers into the city from 8am to 10pm.

President of the association Niranjan Praharaj said ban on the entry of trucks for such a long stretch was affecting their business.

“In other metro cities, the authorities allow a particular time period during the banned hours for loaded trucks to reach their destinations inside the city or those stuck inside to go drive out. We want a similar relaxation,” Praharaj said.

He also demanded parking lots inside the city for trucks stranded during ban hours.

The federation said though it had been making these demands for a long time now, the authorities did not respond and forced them to take to the protest path.

Praharaj also aired the demand for a logistic park outside the city for trucks to halt while plying through the city.

Most cities have such facilities, while the state government here has been sitting on it for a decade, he said.

The trucker owners also accused motor vehicle inspectors and cops of harassing them. Illegal fines are also collected at check gates, a trucker said.

“We also want the state government to shun the railway service and use trucks to transport goods inside the state,” said Rabi Narayan Satpathy, president of the federation.

Across the state over 1.3lakh goods vehicles will not ply, while in Bhubaneswar, over 10,000 trucks will keep off the roads.

Sources said that the association members today met with the commerce and transport minister Subrat Tarai and other officials, but the talks failed.

Tarai said the government was aware of the demands of the truck owners.