The South Goa Progressive Truck Owners Association has threatened to keep their vehicles off the roads for an indefinite period if their demands for increase in rates is not met by 25th October.
Addressing media persons Prakash Raut Dessai, president of the association said they have asked for a rate of 20 per tone, which is four times the rate at which the truck operators are paid presently.
The association has also decided not to load the vehicles with more than 10 tonnes of ore per trip, he said pointing out that fines levied by the Transport Department for excess load has to be paid by the truck owners without the mine owners bearing the burden.
Besides, he pointed out that the government has decided to be very strict about overloading the trucks with ore with a provision to cancel the permit of the vehicle fined thrice in a year for overloading.
In the face of growing resentment amongst the public over the trucks transporting ore, Prakash Raut Dessai said the association was not really interested in overloading their vehicles nor supported rash and negligent driving by the drivers which has caused many accidents in the past.
He sought to blame the government for the problems faced by the people arguing that the government has not improved the infrastructure like widening the roads or even constructing the bypass roads exclusively for mining traffic.
“All that the government is interested is in registering new trucks and collecting the money from the registration fees,” he said pointing out that the number of trucks in the state has grown from hundreds to thousands.
He also revealed that the All Goa Mining Truck Owners Association has supported their demand and decision to stay off the roads if their demands are not met.