Truckers protest new hit-and-run law: Beeline at fuel stations, supply of vegetables & fruits hit | Mumbai News

The strike by truck drivers against the new hit-and-run law in the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) hit normal life in the city on Tuesday with vehicles making beelines at fuel stations as motorists resorted to panic-buying of petrol and diesel. The city also witnessed a dip of 20-40 per cent in supply of vegetables, fruits, onion, potato, spices and other food items from other states, resulting in spike in prices of fruits and vegetables.

Fearing an extension of the strike over the next few days and fuel stations running out of stocks, anxious motorists rushed to fuel stations to tank up their vehicles.

Meanwhile, Petrol Dealers’ Association secretary Chetan Modi urged people not to panic assuring that the situation will be under control over the next few days.

As queues at petrol, diesel and fuel stations started getting longer, Modi said, “Mumbai has around 150 petrol pumps and, on an average, 150,000 litres of petrol is consumed daily. However, as no truck or vehicle carrying fuel could enter the city, the stock could not be refilled. Fuel stations are refilling vehicles with available stock. If the situation continues, there may be a shortage of fuel but we are hopeful that the situation will be brought under control before that.”

The strike impacted the Vashi Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) in Navi Mumbai, which receives agricultural goods from various states. Due to the strike, there was a dip in the inflow of goods from other states with nearly 300-350 trucks unable to enter the city on Tuesday. As a result, officials at AMPC informed that the arrival of vegetables, onions, potatoes and spices from other states has decreased by 20 to 40 per cent.

Most of the essential commodities in the market come from other states including Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka. These include vegetables such as peas, carrots, flowers, cabbage, french beans, potatoes and spices.

Every day, 500 to 600 trucks of vegetables enter the Vashi APMC but on Tuesday only 460 vegetable trucks came. Ramdas Pavle, a vegetable trader, informed that 80 to 100 carts of vegetables have not arrived from other states. The price of these vegetables has increased by 15 to 30 per cent due to lower supply.

Under the BNS, which has replaced the colonial era Indian Penal Code (IPC), drivers who cause a serious road accident by negligent driving and run away without informing the police or any official from the administration can face punishment of up to 10 years and a fine of Rs 7 lakh. Previously, drivers accused in hit-and-run cases under Section 304A of IPC faced penalties of up to two years in jail if proven guilty.

Many transporter organisations have strongly criticised the new law and demanded its immediate repeal. An association of petrol pump dealers in Maharashtra has warned that pumps may go dry if the transporters protest is not resolved soon.

The All India Motor Transport Congress has also strongly protested and raised concerns regarding the provisions under the proposed legislation on hit-and-run cases under the new law. It also wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The association has not taken responsibility for the current strike called by the drivers but claimed it is a spontaneous reaction that has come from the fraternity.

A meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah was called on Tuesday evening.

Malkit Singh, chairman (core committee) and former president of the association, said that almost 95 per cent of vehicles have participated in the strike and halted on roads. In Maharashtra alone there are 15 lakh vehicles. The association will soon announce its official stand on the strike called by the drivers, he said.

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government has instructed supply of fuel to state transport buses under strict police security. The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC), which operates the buses, had fuel stock till Tuesday. The corporation may have to cancel bus trips from Wednesday onwards, senior officials believe.

Vivek Bhimanwar, transport commissioner and incharge of MSRTC, has also written a letter to District Collector’s office to give police security to vehicles carrying fuel at its various ST depots so that services remain unaffected following the strike called by truck drivers.

Daily, state transport buses require 11 lakh litres of fuel to ensure smooth operations of around 14,500 buses.

© The Indian Express Pvt Ltd

First uploaded on: 02-01-2024 at 22:28 IST

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