Gujarat Plus - Gujarat on Web
Rediscover Gujrat .....Rediscover the Gujrati in You
Transporters' strike over octroi agents continues Friday, December 7, 2001
SOURCE - TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: Transporters' strike entered the second day in the city as a large number of public carriers stayed off roads in protest against highhandedness of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation's (AMC) octroi department officials.
City-based transporters and their agents at octroi checkposts have been on a wildcat strike since Wednesday following a surprise raid carried out by senior officials of the AMC at Aslali octroi checkpost that had culminated in four agents being arrested on Tuesday.
On the second day however, talks were held between members of Ahmedabad Motor Transporters' Association and the Mayor Himmatsinh Patel to resolve the issue.
A fair number of goods laden heavy vehicles parked near the Aslali octroi checkpost on Thursday did, however, bear testimony to the strike called by the association. Members of the association have demanded an unconditional apology from AMC administration and immediate withdrawal of the case filed against four agents who were arrested on Tuesday. They were charged with - impeding AMC officials from doing their duty at the Aslali checkpost and conspiring with transporters in evasion of octroi duty.
TNN investigations have revealed that the transporters' strike is one that has the 150 octroi agents at Aslali checkpost on the driver's seat. The agents, most of whom operate at octroi checkposts in the city, have gone off duty thereby hitting transportation severely.
Transporters' association president Chandrashekhar Joshi told TNN: "The agents help out transporters to pay octroi duty without being fleeced by the AMC staff. While my talks with the mayor on Thursday evening were very encouraging, I have also requested the agents to get back to work so that transporters' losses do not compound. I pray for a quick solution to the impasse, which is due to the octroi officials' highhandedness."
Jaswant Parmar, a driver stranded at the Aslali octroi checkpost since early Wednesday morning, said: "I have chemical powders worth Rs 1.5 lakh but without our agents, I am not able to get to my destination in the city."
Abdul Shakir, a driver with a garments laden truck from Surat, told TNN on Thursday: "I am here since 10 am and have already spend more than four hours cooling my heels. But, this is usual in Ahmedabad where sometimes I have to wait for even more than a day to get a clearance from octroi checkpost. While in Surat, the whole process is very systematic. We manage to complete formalities and get out in a couple of hours."
"The reason behind this hullabaloo can be traced to the recent decision of AMC's octroi department authorities in cancelling the employees' incentive scheme," quipped Joshi. According to the erstwhile incentive scheme, officials involved in nabbing an octroi duty evader or a valuation officer re-evaluating and thus hiking octroi duty would get monetary perks.
The deputy municipal commissioner, incharge of octroi in AMC, T G Jhalawadia, told TNN: "If the agents found hanging around any octroi checkpost can furnish documents proving their legal status and to which transport company they belong, we don't have any complaints. The four persons whom we arrested did not have any documents to prove their identity or their employer. The surprise raid at Aslali on Tuesday is only a means to do away with unwanted elements and stop evasion of octroi duty. One should not make a hue and cry about this."
News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]