Auto unions cry foul over new bill

Auto unions cry foul over new bill
Highlights

Auto Unions Cry Foul Over New Bill. The Telangana transport department has called for objections and suggestions from the general public and other stakeholders on the proposed Road Transport Safety Bill (RTSB) 2014, which would be heard today. Majority of the auto unions are against the bill and state that if the bill comes into force, auto drivers would go out of business.

Auto unions are against the proposed Road Transport Safety Bill (RTSB) 2014 as they feel that the Bill is stringent when it comes to penalties for violations. Auto drivers feel that they are already burdened by the existing penalties and if the bill is implemented, they would be forced to give up their livelihoods

The Telangana transport department has called for objections and suggestions from the general public and other stakeholders on the proposed Road Transport Safety Bill (RTSB) 2014, which would be heard today. Majority of the auto unions are against the bill and state that if the bill comes into force, auto drivers would go out of business.

M Kamlakar Reddy, general secretary, Telangana Auto and Trolley Drivers Union, says, “As it stands the present penalties are so high that auto drivers are unable to pay. The RTSB proposals pertaining to violation of traffic signals, vehicle permit and other aspects are unacceptable. The penalties are in thousands.”

The auto unions have been demanding the implementation of GO 108 pertaining to violation of traffic signals. Presently the fine is Rs 1,035. As per the GO, the previous government had agreed to reduce the amount to below Rs 500.

The 20-odd auto unions in the city have sent their objections via e-mail on a variety of issues. A Sathi Reddy, general secretary, Telangana Auto Drivers Samakhya, said, “The penalties under Schedule III of the RTSB are so high that auto drivers would have to leave their autos and go in search of other livelihoods. In some cases one could buy a second hand auto. The present fine for driving vehicle exceeding permissible weight is Rs 1,000 and according to the RTSB it would be Rs 25,000.”

The State government also raised several objections and expressed the possibility that the new bill may impact revenues and increase the chances of corruption. If the bill is passed in Parliament, the Union Government may decide on motor vehicle tax and bring in private players for services such as issuance of fitness certificate and driving licence.

A senior transport department official said that the hefty penalties may actually result in promoting corruption. He also allayed fears that the state transport department may lose a lot of powers and its role nullified.

“We will oppose the bill as it lacks clarity. Also the lives of thousands of auto drivers are at stake. On an average an auto driver takes home Rs 500 per day after meeting all the expenses. With the penalties running into thousands, auto drivers would be wiped out of business,” said Mallesh, an auto union leader.

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