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National Road Transport Workers Unite for One-Day Protest Against Stringent Penalties

Orgs. also address formal letter to Home Minister Amit Shah to consider their plea and facilitate an amendment in the upcoming Parliament Budget session.

New Delhi: In a unified effort, several prominent organisations in the Road Transport sector have called for a nationwide one-day protest strike on February 16, 2024. The signatories include R. Lakshmaiah, General Secretary of All India Road Transport Workers Federation (AIRTWF), Hanumanth Tate, General Secretary of Maharashtra Kamgar Sanghatan; Thirumalaisamy, President of Tamilnadu Government Transport Corporation Staff Federation, and others.

The protest aims to address concerns regarding the recent amendments in the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023, especially Section 106(1) & (2), which imposes severe penalties, including imprisonment of up to 5/10 years and heavy fines on drivers in case of fatal accidents and hit & run cases. The signatories argue that these punitive measures are detrimental to the Road Transport sector, pushing for the withdrawal of these provisions.

Moreover, the press release highlights the adverse impact of Motor Vehicles (M.V.) Act Amendment 2019, alleging a move to dismantle state-owned Road Transport Corporations in favour of big corporate entities. The organisations express concern about the potential consequences of new labour codes and criticise the rise in unemployment, doubling of essential commodity prices, and the burden imposed by the new Electricity Bill and Smart meters.

The signatories stress the need for a united front against these policies and invite all Road Transport Workers and stakeholders to participate in the nationwide strike on February 16, 2024. They emphasise that the strike aims to send a clear message to the Government of India that the industry will not tolerate the detrimental impact of current policies.

In a related development, the organisations have addressed a formal letter dated January 25, 2024, to Amit Shah, the Minister for Home Affairs, Government of India. The letter is drawing attention to Section 106(1) & (2) of Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita-2023. It highlights widespread unrest and panic among drivers and transport associations due to heavy penalties imposed by the mentioned section.

The letter outlines concerns expressed by drivers through protests in various North Indian states and requests the withdrawal of the clauses immediately. It emphasises the anxiety among drivers regarding accidents and challenges faced on the road, such as poor conditions, lack of road segregation, and adverse weather.

Additionally, the letter points out the removal of the provision for double drivers in National Permit vehicles, leading to drivers working without limits on working hours. It highlights the absence of proper facilities for drivers during journeys and criticises the tendency to make drivers scapegoats in accident cases.

The letter advocates for a fair investigation process, with a team of technical experts alongside police officials. It addresses the issue of drivers fleeing accident scenes to avoid potential harm, asserting that this should not be deemed as serious misconduct.

Furthermore, it highlights the ill-treatment of drivers by police and transport department officials, emphasising the need for a change in the prevailing environment. It underscores the importance of guaranteeing better service conditions, wages, social security benefits, and statutory benefits for Road Transport Workers.

The letter concludes by urging the Minister to withdraw clauses 106(1) & (2) of Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023, with the hope that an amendment in this regard will be moved in the ensuing Parliament Budget session, as per the assurance given by the Secretary, Department of Home Affairs on January 2, 2024.

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