Ramesh Kumar

 

Ramesh Kumar, an Economics graduate from the University of Madras, spent his entire career spanning 35 years in the world of publishing: print, TV and web focused on business/economics. He has worked in India and the Persian Gulf (2005-9), helping launch print publications, TV (news & current affairs) stations and websites.

 

He began his career with Macmillan India and traversed through various publications such as Gentleman, GFQ, Technocrat, Business Computers, The Indian Post, The Independent, Free Press Journal, Mid-Day (Bombay), Observer of Business & Politics, Business India TV (TVI), Jain TV, Doordarshan etc. Between 2005 and 2009, he was associated with United Media Services, Muscat, Oman as Group Editor of Oman Economic Review, Alam Aliktisaad Walamaal, Signature, Al Mara, OER Dossier; and moved as Strategic Editorial Advisor to OmanTribune, Muscat, Oman. He also advised INSURE magazine, published from Dubai Media City, UAE.

Until recently, he was one of three key founding-editors of Logistics Times. Now he is associated with the SAARC Centre for Transport Studies, a research outfit.

Besides, he regularly contributes to Automotive Logistics Magazine and Finished Vehicle Logistics Magazine of London, UK; and Logistics Insight Asia of Singapore. 

He has written a book, 10,000 Km on Indian Highways, based on his personal experience of travelling in trucks and trailers.

Prior to the country’s independence private entrepreneurs alone were providers of passenger road transport services. These were basically geared towards providing mobility to people to reach their district head quarters. Larger towns had city services provided by Co- operatives or Corporate houses. Government’s intervention was superficial, confined to collection of taxes. Raising of capital to purchase buses, engaging people to operate services was an activity undertaken by private entrepreneurs.

 

Migration of population from rural areas to urban centres in search of better opportunities compelled the Government to formulate policies that provided benefit to industries locating or re - locating in areas that were un - developed or under developed.

 

Between the two major mechanized modes of surface transport i.e. rail and road, their share in movement of cargo has just reversed. In early fifties when the process of planned development of the country was initiated, the share of commercial goods road transport was not even 20%. According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India, the share of freight traffic on roads in the country is estimated as 62.9% (2009-10). Road Transport has emerged as the dominant segment in India’s transport sector therefore has an important role in country’s growing economy and GDP”.

National Road Safety Council held it’s 13th Meeting on 29th February, 2012, a peculiar day which does not occur every year. So rather peculiar were some of the deliberations / conclusions of this meeting.

Construction of new roads or modernizing the existing network is a noble act and deserves to be lauded. Indeed when cess was levied on diesel/petrol as a means to fund these activities, goods carriage owners of the country, the major users of roads, took the issue sportingly. Their considered response was that if their fair contribution could lead more and better roads then it was worth welcoming.

Stating in a lighter vein, vehicle Manufacturers are initially responsible for the entire mess. No doubt their intentions were clear  and earnest too. By producing these vehicles they wanted to facilitate movement of men and material across the country for it’s socio-economic growth. Little could they realise what in store was for the owners of their vehicles.

 

Railways were ever averse to growth of road transport. It was natural, therefore, that they were not forthcoming in their support for the idea of commercial vehicles being permitted to move freely in all parts of the country. But their resistance to National Permit Scheme, beyond a point became untenable.
 

 

 

In commercial road transport dynamics, the common carriers play the crucial role of transporting raw material from widely dispersed places to the factories and again carrying the finished products from the factories and produce from farms to consumption centres, in nook and corner of the country.

One fine morning, during later half of January, 2012 villagers, just a kilometre away from Lambi, in Muktasar district in Punjab, people woke up to brick-paved lanes inside a Dalit colony where a 1,000 odd persons from the Baazigar Community live. “Yesterday the Government gave us the bricks and asked us to lay them”, said Gurmeet Singh, a daily-wage labourer living in the area.

 

With passage of time, since Independence, more particularly because of planned development of the country becoming the State policy, the industry and commerce which was centered at port towns or near rail-heads began to disperse across the hinterland. Industries began to be set up in far flung areas of the country. Their need was timely supply of raw materials, not necessarily from nearby only, and distribution of finished products to consumption centres in all directions.