Column

 

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) headed by Shri Swatantar Kumar, former Justice of the Supreme Court, in its Order dated November, 2014 has given a slew of directions, with a view to correct the worsening state of ambient air in Delhi. Among fourteen directions the “ban” on petrol and diesel vehicles, older than fifteen years, was just cheese for newspaper reporters. 

Loading of trucks in excess of the prescribed limit is a menace whose horrifying consequences are well identified. 

The scenario in early twenties of last century was that the principal - rather only mechanized mode of transport - was the railways. Its objective was not precisely to serve as the means of development of the countryside; instead to pick up raw materials from vast hinterland of the country and take the same to ports for export to UK and in return help distribution across India of finished goods manufactured in England. 

Mr. Nitin Gadkari, Hon’ble Minister for Road Transport, Highways & Shipping declaring that he would see that under the National Highway Development programme twenty eight kilometers of road construction shall take place every day, needs be noted since this is unlike the scaling up of this target by his predecessors, beginning from two kilometers upto twenty kilometers a day.

Till early sixties the goods road transporters owned godowns to collect and store cargo and also owned trucks needed for taking the goods to their destinations. Competition was then among them on the basis of quality of service.

During past about two years there was slump in sale of commercial vehicles. This was obviously because of shyness of the customers. This made concerned people in industry and in the Government to sit up and think of ways and means to pep up the demand.


In my perception the Government auctioning fanciful automobile registration numbers through process of open auction and publicizing these as V.I.P. Numbers, deserves to be re-visited. Creating distinction between citizen to citizen, in a peoples’ democratic republic, is simply incomprehensible.


Power for legislating laws, governing transportation of goods and passengers by Road, under the Constitution, is the prerogative of  the Central Government. 

Mobility of men and material is basic to socio-economic growth of any Society. To give effect to this are various modes like shipping, airways, railways and roadways. Each of these modes have a separate statute to regulate them. For instance :-  

The Shipping Bills issued by shipping companies, the Air Consignment Notes or Railway Receipts issued respectively by airlines and railways are recognized negotiable instruments. Virtually  as good as currency notes.