Lorry owners flay Centre’s vehicle scrappage policy

The latest vehicle scrappage policy announced in the Union Budget has irked a section of lorry operators who have alleged that the “thoughtless rule” will displace many hapless entrepreneurs who earn a living by operating inter-State truck services amid rising fuel and maintenance costs.

They argued that the dismantling of 15-year-old vehicles, which were recently fitted with costly GPS devices on a government directive, was hardly a possible option for operators, and that they would be compelled to launch an indefinite strike seeking revision of the proposal.

Shaju Almana, a functionary of Lorry Owners Federation, said workers would soon hold a token strike across the State against the move. “If the government still remains unconvinced, we will be launching an indefinite strike with the cooperation of lorry operators from other States,” he added.

Mr. Almana claimed that the new proposal, if implemented, would adversely impact around 50% of goods vehicles. “Owners of such vehicles will never be able to purchase new ones, as suggested by the government, and they will be compelled to quit the field in the absence of other alternatives,” he said.

A few lorry operators from Kozhikode district alleged that the new proposal was meant to support large-scale vehicle manufacturers. According to them, the Central and State governments were little concerned about the plight of poor entrepreneurs in the inter-State lorry service sector, which was badly hit by the hike in prices of fuel and mechanical components.

Members of Lorry Owners Federation claimed that automobile dealers in the State were charging heavy repairing fee after the introduction of BS IV and BS VI variants, citing “suspicious” shortage of mechanical parts for old vehicles. The increase in vehicles tax and insurance premium is another challenge which has shaken several small investors, they said.

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