Column

India is substantially deficient in production of crude oil. During the foreseeable future there is no chance of the country becoming self-sufficient. Impliedly for long many years to come major portion of crude oil required shall have to be imported. Direct fall out of this is that the pricing of petro-products would continue to depend on the price prevailing abroad.  

Shortage  of  trained  commercial  vehicle  drivers  is  no  new  Phenomenon.  The  socio-­-economic  strides  made  by  the  countries  in  the  Middle-­-East,  during  the  eighties,  offered  golden  opportunities  to  trained  commercial  vehicle  drivers  in  India.  Consequently  a  large  number  of  them  left  the  Indian  shores  for  a  brighter  future  in  Arabian  Countries.  

In any gathering of road transporters, it has become almost fashionable to grumble about driver shortage leading to apprehension of difficult times ahead for moving cargo booked by them to different destinations. 

Till  automobiles  came  on  the  scene  Safety  on  roads  was  not  an  issue  at  all.  Today  lakhs  of  people  are  dying    because  ever  increasing  number  of  automobiles  of  all  kinds  are  competing  with  non-­-motorised  road  users  for   space  on  the  roads. 

Come December and hectic activities start at the Centre to draw up various programmes for Celebrating Road Safety during the 1st week of January. Compared to other celebrations like remembering mother, teacher et al are a one day affair, but it is significant that road safety is celebrated for seven days.

Movement of goods and passengers have long past the stage when statute was framed basically to control them way back in 1936. Law relating to commercial goods and passenger transport was meant for containing their area of operation and power to States for taxing these services. The aim was two-pronged viz Revenue to States and restraint on expansion of these services.


Goods Road Transport is the system that lets each economic activity materialize. Whether industry, commerce or agriculture, all depend on goods road transport for their sustenance and growth. 

Of late Railways are being addressed as National Transporters. Why ? Because railways can’t move unless they do have the first and last mile support of road transport ? Or because their share of all cargo moved by road from 75% plus in early fifties has, as of today slided to less than 20% ? Or because they are just not able to pick up passengers from any where and drop them wherever they like to go ?

In January, 2010 the goods transport operators pulled down their shutters and stopped booking and delivery of cargo. A lock-out of sorts. It has been their forte for some time now for twisting the arms of the Union Transport Ministry. This virtual lookout by transport operators led to virtual lay-off of truckers.

It is gratifying that the Union Ministry of Road Transport has, at last, conceded that to effectively contain the curse of overloading of goods carriages was crucial and had wide ramification. The modification of National Highways Fee  (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules was thus done on 16th December, 2013. It is, however, ironical that there seems to be some genetic fault about the framers of laws, whereby the deterrence of the statute or the very object of making Rules is lost or diluted some where down the track.