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Nationwide transport strike today affects commuters of Kerala, Haryana: Unions demand withdrawal of Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill

A nationwide transport strike called by the All India Motor Transport Organisation on Tuesday is expected to affect commuters in several states across the country, media reports said. The strike was called to oppose the proposed Motor Vehicle (MV) Amendment Bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha and is now awaiting the Rajya Sabha’s approval.

The Motor Vehicle (MV) Amendment Bill amends the Motor Vehicles Act to impose stiffer penalties for traffic rules violations, to protect good samaritans from legal harassment, a three-year jail term for parents of minors caught driving and causing fatal accidents, and a ten-fold increase in compensation for the families of accident victims, among other things. The bill also provides for facilitating delivery of services to the citizens and transporters and proposes Aadhaar-based verification for grant of online services, including learner’s licence.

In Kerala, commuters faced trouble while commuting on Tuesday morning as Kerala State Road Transport Corporation joint trade union committee is on a 24-hour token strike. According to Free Press Journal, the Kerala State Transport Employees Union has claimed the government is planning to monopolise the transport industry.

Haryana Roadways State Transport is also observing a one-day strike on Tuesday against the proposed Road Safety and Transport Bill and the state government’s decision to include private buses in its fleet, ANI reported. Nearly 4,000 buses in Haryana remained off roads, hitting inter-state and intra-state services. Employees under the banner of Haryana Roadways Karamchari Joint Action Committee have been holding protests at several places against the state government. They said they would not allow the state government to launch 700 private buses in the state as it would lead to privatisation of the transport department. They said the government should instead increase the number of buses under the roadways department.

In Chennai, most transport workers, barring those affiliated to AIADMK, have announced that they would stay away from work while expressing solidarity with the protest, The Times of India reported.

The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation joint trade union committee is on a 24-hour token strike on Tuesday. ANI

The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation joint trade union committee is on a 24-hour token strike on Tuesday. ANI

On 23 July, many Opposition parties opposed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill dubbing it as dilution of the state’s powers and aimed at helping corporates.

The Bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha on 10 April, 2017, was re-introduced in Rajya Sabha by Minister of State for Transport Mansukhlal Mandaviya for debate and passing in the ongoing Monsoon Session.

According to News 18, automobile showrooms, spare parts shops and driving school owners will also participate in the protest. The protesters have claimed that the proposed amendments bill will render lakhs of workers jobless.

Meanwhile, on Monday, consumer advocacy group CUTS International urged the Centre and Opposition parties to resolve differences for giving passage to the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill. Expressing concern over the delay in the passage of the bill, CUTS International director George Cheriyan said 23 out of the 68 proposed amendments are related to road safety.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Aug 07, 2018 11:24 AM

Updated: August 7, 2018 — 6:42 am

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