DASS SPEAK:How About Ensuring Per Day Minimum turn-around of Trucks ?

By Chittranjan Dass, Editor, SAARC Journal of Transport
The number of accidents occurring on highways every day and the deaths / injuries resulting therefrom is harrowing. Trucks are being accused of being the main culprits. It is assumed that speed of trucks causes most of these accidents.

Moot point is that if speed really results in accidents; has this been established through reliable supporting proofs? Besides, has any attempt been made to ascertain why all drivers are indulging in over speeding? It is understandable that some of them may be irresponsible, wayward or wreckless but that could not be true for all of the tribe.

This could not be brushed aside, particularly as is concerns with limbs and lives of not only innocent persons but also, as again assumed, those who are very productive ones, in days to come, No one seems to be aware that in their concern about this matter, the law makers provided in the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 that the State governments shall study in depth the causative factor for each accident. The idea was that once the Cause was known remedial preventive measures could be taken.

Today ! finding causative factor for accidents is like “five blind persons trying to identify an elephant” instantly over-speeding has been held as main causative factor and the remedy has been notified in the Gazette of India. It is (a) speed of trucks has been restricted to 80 kmph and (b) an Speedometer for this shall be retrofitted to the vehicle. Why the engine design should not have this limit in-built as OE is a surprising moot point. Speed is admittedly the essence of goods road transport. It is too well known to the enforcement officials of state governments. So, with impunity, for one or the other reason they hold up loaded trucks on the highways.
The objective is simple. To collect money. Anybody (official or unofficial) holding up an activity, which admittedly is the back - bone of country's economy, for the sake of collecting bribe, is a crime of the worst order. That apart, the minimum turn-around kilometers achieved by a truck is the basis for all socio-economic activities of the country, depending on their services.

These stoppages of trucks by officials of the states (with due patronage of their political bosses) rob the truckers of their turn-around potential. This mainly is the cause of the trucks seen running 'FAST' on the highways.

This factor has never been discussed in official fora nor sparing the truckers of this jungle raj, is the concern of the Center or States. The fixing of the maximum speed limit is truly criminal towards the trucking industry. It needs to be recalled that with speed limit at 80 kmph shall set the average turn-around to no more than 50 kmph. In tanden with the impediments by government officials would reduce it to 25 kmph. Everyone should sit up and give a thought to this scenario. Government is under illusion that loss of turnaround of trucks was loss to the truck owner. No! more than that loss was suffered by the economy of the country.

In his right senses every individual countryman should applaud the earnest measure of the government to cap the speed limit of trucks. They should as well stand up with the truckers-who are self-employed entrepreneurs engaged in providing yeomen service to the nation and compel the government to ensure that any truck owner who is restrained from achieving per day minimum turn-around FIXED BY THE GOVERNMENT, shall be entitled to be compensated through an institutionalized mechanism.

This should be his fundamental right -- after having borrowed money from private sources to fund the purchase of vehicle, paid for it’s registration, getting a permit, paying Road Tax, Excise, VAT etal and cesson diesel for the road fund etc etc. There must be a fair and just QUID PRO QUOO for all then.