Despite orders to regulate seamless, hassle-free movement of goods and essentials from the Ministry of Home Affairs, All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) warns of a probability of supply chain disruption with problems like increased quantity of rotten fruits and vegetables to high entry fee at state borders, plaguing truckers.

Problems faced by truckers:

Perishables worth Rs 9 crore in 300 trucks have reportedly gotten rotten and on top of that, an exorbitant entry fee is being charged at some state borders, leaving many truckers troubled in spite of guidelines in place for transporters.

This had led to truckers’ grouping warning of possible supply disruptions.

According to the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), there have been reports of drivers being exposed to torture and misbehavior with transporters, from places in Punjab ,Assam, Bihar, and Haryana among others. AIMTC has warned of supply disruptions if their “corona warriors” continue to be meted out such treatment.

Despite MHA’s orders to ensure seamless movement of essentials and goods, situation is worsening on the ground and if the government fails to intervene trucks will be off roads, says AIMTC, which represents about 95 lakh truckers and entities.

“About 300 vehicles carrying fruits and vegetables bound for Delhi were stopped at Behrod (Rajasthan) on Saturday for 4-5 hours and after persuasion with authorities they were allowed to move on but again they were stopped at Shahjahanpur Border (Rajasthan). The police even used lathis on drivers and broke glass panes of some vehicles to divert them back to Rajasthan,” AIMTC President Kultaran Singh Atwal was noted. 

But AIMTC’s relentless late night efforts could not bear fruit, as the police personnel drove them back to Rajasthan, which resulted in spoiling of fruits and vegetables and huge monetary losses to the transporters.

“Even as per rough estimates, not less than Rs 900 lakh worth of fruits and vegetables were subjected to rot, if we conservatively estimated only Rs 3 lakh worth of fruits in vegetables in each of the 300 trucks that were stopped and then sent back,” AIMTC Secretary General Naveen Gupta said. 

Mr Gupta added that this is only one such instance and similar incidents had taken place in other states with situation worsening day after day.

Gupta said a large number of drivers were approaching AIMTC for support from Madhya Pradesh and other states, saying illegal extortions ranging from Rs 800 to 3,000 for “entry” into the state has become common there.

In a video, drivers are heard saying to AIMTC officials from the Madhya Pradesh border that they are being charged an exorbitant Rs 800-1,000 fee for crossing the border.

In an another recorded message a driver is heard saying that he was carrying goods to Nagpur from Bhatinda Refinery with Deputy Commissioner’s permission but his license was taken and a challan was slapped on him.

AIMTC said cases have been reported from Mizoram where four trucks carrying goods for BSNL have been stopped at Baring Border, and on Eastern & Western Peripheral highway where vehicles have been stopped and drivers beaten and documents were taken.

“The past few days has thrown up stark reality with cases of corruption, harassment and extortion by law enforcers and their agents emanating from various parts of the country,” AIMTC officials stated, adding “the police, control room numbers from MHA do not help on the ground”.

Demand of rescue and relief package:

AIMTC has demanded a rescue and relief package, stating that more than 20 crore people are directly or indirectly dependent on this sector. 

“There is no revenue generation, no financial inflows as payments from parties are restrained and existing finance with the small operators as well as that of big operators is depleting fast. The small operators (more than 85 per cent of the lot) do not have enough resources to sustain their families and won’t be able to pay for the statutory and regulatory compliances even few months after the normalcy is restored.”

All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC)

AIMTC is an apex body of transporters, representing about 95 lakh truckers and entities.