DASS SPEAK:The Farce of All India Permit For Goods Carriages

By Chittranjan Dass, Editor, SAARC Journal of Transport

 

A large number of Truck Operators, owning one or two vehicles, operated their vehicles, till the revised All India Permit for goods carriages replaced the erstwhile National Permit Scheme, under reciprocal / counter-signature permits. They used to hold their basic intra-state permit against the prescribed fee and operated in all parts of the home State. Many of them took Reciprocal / countersigned Permit and thereby they could operate as well in the State for which this Permit was granted.

 

Under the then prevailing National Permit Scheme, which was optional, any person could opt for this by paying taxes prescribed for the home State and an agreed composite fee of rupees five thousand for each State opted for endorsement. Rider was that one had to opt for at least three States besides the home State. Vast majority of truckers went for this option.

 

 A small segment of the countrys’ truck fleet, because of peculiarity of their business, opted for larger number of States. Transport companies’ organisations lobbied for their interest and even went on for an agitation. The Government, as usual, compromised and decided to bring in a new scheme known as All India Permit for goods carriages with stated specific objective of providing Hassle free movement of goods carriages operating on interstate routes just at the cost of what was the minimum for the then National Permits.

 

Thus even those who operated under counter Signature /  Reciprocal basis, as well had to operate under All India Permit. Simultaneously, instead of then existing arrangement wherein Composite Fee was remitted to concerned States, now, according to a formulae, through, electronic system, the fee paid by each individual is instantly, distributed among all the States and Union Territories, of the Country.

 

The limited objective of the agitationist being restricted to getting jurisdiction increased to whole India, they went home content with the fact that what and for whom they held the agitation was accomplished. For them “declaration” by the Government that All India Permit Scheme was brought in with specified object of making operation of goods carriages hassle free had no relevance.

 

The agitationist may not even be aware that the Government during past  55 months has not even moved it’s little fingure for achieving the objective i.e removing the hassles on the highways. This despite the fact that Government is fully aware that :-

1)    The  goods carriage owner, holding an All India Permit has to pay an entry fee while entering another State or passing through it. A formal receipt is issued for this.

2)    A tax known as “Mechanical Tax” is recovered from all outside vehicles and no receipt is issued for this.

3)    Enforcement officials of Transport Department, randomly stop vehicles on the way and take possession of all relevant documents relating to the vehicle. For this they do not hesitate from using physical force even. Having taken possession of documents they negotiate for BRIBE. This is happening across the country and, in most cases, in full knowledge or may be consent / connivance of the senior officials of Transport Department in the States.

4)    This process, besides causing Financial loss, leads to loss of precious running time of the vehicle.

5)    Overloading is perpetrating because, for States that is a convenient source of revenue and a fertile source of gratification for States’ enforcement officials. Indeed States fix targets of money collection for their officials.

 

One may well wonder if any agitation was ever held for removal of these potential causes for impediments in free movement of Goods Carriages on highways? IF NOT one may ask WHY  ?

 

On their part, could the Transport Ministry at the Centre quantify the extent of Inter-State goods transport movement having become hassle-free since May,        2010 when it was announced that as being the basis for brining in a new All India Permit Scheme ? Or the strike in 2010 and Ministry coming out with the All India Permit for Goods Carriage was mere matter of convenience under coercion ?

 

All these are yet another set of reasons to insist that in India operating goods carriages is an activity which is inevitable yet not shown of due sympathy and regard.