Shillong: The Meghalaya Truckers Union, Association of Meghalaya Traders and Transporters Association, Foreign Trade Chamber of Commerce Meghalaya and East Jaintia Coal Suppliers Association have urged Chief Minister Conrad Sangma to remove the weighbridges at several locations in Meghalaya, which they maintained were illegal and cause of harassment.
In a joint letter to the Chief Minister, the Associations said all these weighbridges are declared illegal by the Central Government is totally against the existence of such illegal weighbridges in the NH-6 and NH-40E.
“In spite of our valuable service given to the people of the state, we are forced to go through various difficulties in Meghalaya. 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 weigh bridges,” the petition, copies of which were also sent to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Surface Road Transport and Highways and Union Ministry of Finance said.
The Associations also reminded the Chief Minister that 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 etc., are clearly spelled out in the Act especially in the Toll Highway. There is nowhere in the act that empowers the Officers of the Transport
Department in State to meddle with the business of National Highway,” the Association said, adding that any structure built along the Highway without the approval of the competent authority which is the Ministry of Surface Road Transport and Highways will be deemed to be illegal and not permissible.
“The Act which the state made under the MV Act to cover up these illegal weigh bridges is not valid at all as the Highways are covered by the National Highways Act and the power to enforce the act is with the Centre and not with the State of Meghalaya,” the petition maintained.
The associations requested the Chief Minister “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”.
The Association also appealed to the Chief Minister to “immediately shut down all such illegal weigh bridges” located along NH-6 and NH-40E.
Moreover, the associations of truckers, suppliers, exporters, traders and transporters of Meghalaya also pointed out that that they have to work continuously for months together and stay far away from family and children.
“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. Ours was the only profession that cannot sleep. It won’t be wrong to say
that the day wheels of our trucks stop, the whole nation will come to a halt,” the associations underscored.