The Joint Action Committee of Truckers, Suppliers, Exporters, Traders and Transporters Association has written to Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma urging him to shut down all illegal weighbridges along NH 6 and NH 40E.
Saying that they are responsible for transporting food grains, and all essential commodities from garments to medicines to building materials even to the remotest place in the country, the representation said, “Our job is the most difficult and important one for supporting the Indian and state economy.”
The representation has been signed by the president of Meghalaya Truckers Union, general secretary of Association of Meghalaya Traders and Transporters Association, secretary of East Jaintia Coal Suppliers Association and president of Foreign Trade Chamber of Commerce Meghalaya.
“In order to ensure that the food grains reach each and every kitchen in the state and starvation is prevented, we have to work continuously for months together and stay far away from our family and children,” it said.
“When the whole world was asked to stay at home to be healthy and safe from Coronavirus, that was the most difficult time for us, we cannot stay home and be safe with our families and near and dear ones,” the representation to the Meghalaya CM said.
Saying that they “are forced to go through various difficulties in the state of Meghalaya”, the joint committee of traders, truckers, transporters and exporters in the representation said, “The weighbridges which are set up at several locations in NH 6 and NH 40E are a real pain in our journey”.
“Every time we had to pass through these weighbridges we were forced to shed a huge sum of money which is otherwise meant for our survival during the course of our work. At times we had to stay hungry for few days as we used to run out of money because of these weighbridges.”
“To add salt to the wound, all these weighbridges are declared illegal by the Government of India and the central government is totally against the existence of such illegal weighbridges in the NH6 and NH 40E.”
The representation said: “It is universally known that the National Highways are properties of the central government and it is governed by a separate Act known as National Highways Act which is totally under the central government.”
“The provisions of overloading and its prevention including penalties are clearly spelled out in the Act especially in the Toll Highway,” it said.
It claimed, “there is nowhere in the Act that empowers the officers of the Transport Department in state to meddle with the business of National Highway”.
Hence any structure built along the highway without the approval of the competent authority which is the Ministry of Surface Road Transport and Highways in the Government of India deems to be “illegal and not permissible in law”, it said.
The Act, which the state made under the MV Act to cover up these illegal weighbridges is not valid at all as the Highways are covered by the National Highway Act and the power to enforce the Act is with the central government and not with the state of Meghalaya, it said.
“We, therefore, request your kindness not to force us to be part of these illegalities by asking us to pay to these illegal weighbridges as this totally goes against the law and the spirit of the Indian Constitution. Let us say no to any illegality and build our nation as responsible citizens,” the representation to the Meghalaya CM said.