Lorry owners in Mysuru have a threatened to go on a strike if the Government does not meet its demands including a roll back of the hike in fitness certificate (FC) fees and diesel price rises in the next 30 days.
The members of Mysuru District Lorry Owners Union held a demonstration in front of the office of Deputy Commissioner of Mysuru on Monday to press for their demands.
While the Union Government had announced a scrappage policy for vehicles that are more than 15 years old, president of the Union B. Kodandaram said the rules, however, permit commercial vehicles to ply even after 15 years, but they should mandatorily obtain FC twice in a year by paying an exorbitant sum.
Though vehicles that were 15 years or older had to obtain FC only once a year earlier by paying ₹1,200, the Government has now made it mandatory for the vehicles to obtain FC twice a year by paying more than ten times the amount as fees. “Now, the lorry owners have to pay ₹ 12,500 twice in a year or ₹ 25,000 per year. Including the GST, surcharge and green tax, a lorry owner will have to pay more than ₹ 30,000 every year”, he lamented.
Though the scrappage police for old vehicles was brought in by the Centre, the fees for FC goes to the State Treasury. So, the State Government should immediately look into the matter and provide relief to the lorry owners, he said.
Mr. Kodandaramaiah also criticised the Government for the hike in diesel prices, which has hit the lorry owners hard.
By increasing the price of diesel by 80 paise every day during the last ten days, the Government has made it difficult for the lorry owners to absorb the increase in fuel prices. “We are unable to even transfer the increase to the customers because the amount is increased by 80 paise. Let the Government increase the prices by ₹5 per litre and put a moratorium on further increase for two years. That way, we can at least transfer the increased cost on the consumers”, he said.
The lorry drivers had suffered financially first during 2016 due to demonetisation before the 2017 introduction of GST. Next, COVID-19 pandemic delivered another blow during 2020 and 2021, he lamented.
Mr. Kodandaram also questioned the need for border checkposts in the State when about 30 Transport Department services had shifted online.
Contending that the checkposts in Chitradurga, Vijayapura, Koppal and Haveri among other places were harassing lorry drivers in the name of inspection, he said abolition of such checkposts will also help check corruption.
Recently, lorry owners of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Pondicherry and Andhra Pradesh, besides Karnataka, met in Chennai to chalk out their next course of action to protect the interests of the lorry owners, he said.