All India Road Transport Workers Federation (AIRTWF) and All Assam Motor Workers' Joint Council have jointly called for a 24-hour strike, Chaka Bandh, across Assam on Monday. They are protesting against the Centre’s move to pass the Road Transport and Safety Bill, 2016, and amendment to the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 which does not have any provisions for the transport workers’ welfare.
“We are raising our voices against the hike in prices of petrol and diesel and implementation of Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill, 2016. Apart from this, we demand the implementation of welfare schemes by the state government,” said Hareswar Das, working president of Assam state committee of AIRTWF, while speaking to Newsclick.
“Apart from this, the system should be promulgated with the introduction of newly introduced services like Ola, Uber and e-rickshaw. Also, the amount of any sort of late fine for the Uber-Olas was Rs 5 per day during Congress Government. But, the BJP Government abruptly increased it to Rs 50 per day. We are protesting against this too," Das added.
The unions are also demanding the rollback of the increase in third-party insurance premium, vehicle registration fee, including renewal fees for the permit, fitness certificate and license imposed by the regional transport offices in different states as envisaged in the transport bill, said Das.
Protests against the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which paves way for privatization of state road transport undertakings, have been going on for past few months all across the country, said KK Divakaran, General Secretary of AIRTWF.
The public transportation sector across the country has been witnessing trouble for a while due to the policies of Centre. During the third week of October 2017, the Maharashtra state road transport corporation workers had staged protests, demanding the minimum wages as per the 7th pay commission’s scale. In the third week of December 2017, Rajasthan State Roadways Transportation Corporation workers had staged a two-day dharna across the state demanding pending payment of bonus and ex gratia amounts due for the financial year 2016-17. Recently, in the first week of January 2018, Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation workers demonstrated an eight-day long strike for their demands.