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Karnataka Lorry Owners threaten to go on strike to lift criminal charges

Imposing fine on the truck drivers is akin to shooting the messenger, Karnataka Lorry Owners’ Association said.

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The Federation of Karnataka Lorry Owners’ Association (FOKLOA) threatened to go on an indefinite strike from October 10 if the government did not lift the criminal charges and fines slapped on them.

This is the third time in the year the sand transporting truckers and lorry association is planning an agitation against what they term as atrocious behaviour of the police and revenue officials against them.

The association’s main objection is against levying heavy fines on those who drive the trucks or their owners when they transport sand to the city or elsewhere in the state.

Every day, about 3,000 trucks move into the city, carrying sand, which will be sold to contractors in Bellary and Harihara. The contractors, in turn, will sell it to the end-users. We just transport sand but our drivers are booked under criminal cases,” said Channa Reddy, president of FOKLOA.

Revenue officials slap heavy fines on drivers and truck owners, ranging from Rs25,000 to Rs50,000, before allowing the vehicles to proceed to their respective destinations. Because of this situation, there is growing fear among the drivers and they are switching over to other vehicles.

“Drivers and lorry owners are a harassed lot and they lose money from all sides. The government has ruled that the public works department must collect and sell sand and hand over the orders to the truckers to transport it to Bangalore. That rule was expected to be in force from March 31, 2011, but it never came into effect,” said Reddy.

FOKLOA has placed three demands before the state government:

  • No more booking of criminal cases against drivers or lorry owners because they are not the ones who are mining sand illegally
  • Fines should be levied according to the mines and geology department’s provision which ranges between
  • Rs4,000 and Rs5,000
  • Since trucks are permitted to carry all types of goods except prohibited ones, the provision of fitting Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking devices into vehicles and painting them in a particular colour should be modified

The new sand policy has directed that vehicles transporting sand should be painted in a particular colour and that they should be fitted with GPS tracking devices and monitored up to their destinations.

The FOKLOA also demanded that permits should be issued to them to transport sand. Right now, only 50 to 60 trucks have permits to transport sand.

Reddy said FOKLOA is the mother association of seven or eight lorry owners associations in the city and six across the state. Each of the smaller associations has 50 to 60 trucks.

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