DASS SPEAK:Truckers being pushed to agitate for their survival

By Chittranjan Dass, Editor, SAARC Journal of Transport


Increasing pollution along with increasing population in NCR of Delhi is too real a dilemma for all concerned. At the same time it stands akin to proverbial elephant which five intellectual, but blind, persons are busy identifying.

Among the numerous sources identified so far, as polluting the air in Delhi one more - the dirt from Rajasthan – has been lately added to the list. Not necessarily this is a new causative factor but surely a very significant one.

During early sixties, perhaps even earlier, dust storms used to be a daily recurrence which by early afternoon clouded the National Capital and around next morning every nook and corner of residents’ houses were found covered with dust. Since past mid-day this made life miserable, breathing used to become difficult.

Not toying with illusions and intent being earnest to remedy the situation, a massive plantation program was undertaken in areas from where the wind blew the sand towards Delhi. The malady has not ended totally but certainly the phenomenon of sixties is no more around.

Almost around the same time the congestion in the heart of Delhi started manifesting itself. Delhi being the principal trading centre of north India, moving of goods, particularly by road, began to increase beyond imagination. While all business centres, situated within the heart of the town, added to the problem of slowing down movement of vehicles resulting in heavy exhaust of polluting smoke.

With earnestness to improve the matters, initially the wholesale vegetable and fruit market was  shifted from the vicinity of congested locality of Kamla Nagar to far away Azadpur. It was followed by shifting the iron and timber market from heart of the town i.e. Paharganj to more appropriate place which made significant improvement in this centrally located area.

In order to decongest traditional crowded markets like Naya Bazar, G.B. Road, Sadar Bazar no tangible effort is known to have been made. Similar instances of haplessness on the part of the Government is existing in other areas as well of expanding township of Delhi.

This congestion leading to slow movement of vehicles added to the toxic exhausts. Perhaps inability to decongest the markets and thereby the inevitability of goods vehicles, not only local but from all parts of the country, bringing in and taking out goods to all over the country are not at fault for polluting Delhi.

Yet the idea under contemplation is that all diesel operated light and heavy commercial vehicles be banned. This is considered as a surer way of making Delhi’s ambient air somewhat more clean.

“Might, as is said, is right”. But most definitely it needs to be noted, that in the instant case it is not the “might” but the machine being more right.

In this respect significantly no commercial goods carriage, whether in Delhi or elsewhere, can come on the road unless it possessed a
Certificate of Fitness and a Certificate of Pollution Under Control (PUC). These two certificates specify that the vehicle is road worthy. How a road worthy vehicle could be taken off the road is mind boggling.
These two certificates could he had by a fifteen year or even older vehicle and could be denied even to a younger than 10 year old one.
Working life of a truck is not specified by the OE Manufacturer either.
Consequently the self-employed owner of such discarded vehicles shall go out of business, along with the driver and cleaner, obviously, is a non-issue compared to caring for the health of the people.

As if, this was not in line with the tradition and culture of transport departments in the States, including NCT of Delhi not to settle any issue without money changing hands, therefore, it’s Finance Minster, Shri Manish Sisodia has opened up avenue for milching the cash cow. i.e. truck owners, in the guise of preventing auto-pollution. In It’s Budget proposals he has proposed huge POLLUTION FINE on different size of trucks ranging form Rs.500/- to Rs.1500/- per truck of other States each time it visited Delhi.

With this proposal, how the Finance Minister, Shri Sisodia, shall be able to prevent / reduce pollution is so very dubious but FOR SURE the enforcement officials of Transport Department shall go home every day with fatter pockets.

In this back-drop where stand the truck owners ? and who is to care for their concerns. Mr. Manish Sisodia’s initiative is a sure recipe for truck owners of the country being compelled to agitate for their sustenance and survival.