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Truckers' stir turns violent in Rajasthan; fuel rush across many states

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
Last updated on: January 02, 2024 16:44 IST
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Petrol pumps in many cities witnessed long queues on Tuesday as people came to fill up their vehicle tanks fearing shortage of fuel amid the protest by truck drivers against a provision in the new penal law on hit-and-run accident cases involving motorists.

IMAGE: Long ques were seen at petrol pumps in Mumbai in view of transport strike. Photograph: Sahil Salvi

Under the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, which replaces the colonial era Indian Penal Code, drivers who cause a serious road accident by negligent driving and run away without informing police or any official from the administration can face up to 10 years imprisonment or a fine of Rs 7 lakh.

Petrol Dealers Association, Mumbai, president Chetan Modi told PTI that the fuel supply to petrol pumps was affected due to the drivers' agitation since Monday.

"Petrol pumps started getting dry since yesterday. If we won't get the supply, most of the pumps will run out of fuel from today," he said.

According to transporters, it was a spontaneous agitation started by some over-enthusiastic drivers which got fuelled through messages circulated among them on social media.

IMAGE: Buses were off the road following an indefinite strike called by tanker, bus and taxi drivers over the 'stringent provisions' under proposed legislation on hit-and -run cases under Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023, in Bhopal on Monday. Photograph: ANI Photo

No truckers' body has officially declared any strike, they said.

Baba Shinde, a leader of transporters, said the All India Motor Transport Congress has convened a meeting of transporters from across the country wherein the future course of action will be decided.


In Nagpur, the truck drivers' protest triggered panic buying as people started queuing up at petrol pumps since Monday night to fill up their vehicle tanks.

Nagpur Collector Dr Vipin Itankar on Tuesday appealed to the people not to indulge in panic buying of fuel.

Local transportation was on Tuesday hit in Nagpur due to a 'chakka jam' by the truck drivers, claimed a local functionary of the Shiv Sena-Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray which is supporting the agitation.

Members of various truck driver associations gathered at Samvidhan Chowk in Nagpur to stage a protest. They have planned to later go to the district collectorate to put forth their demands before the administration.

IMAGE: Bus and Taxi drivers stage a protest in Bhopal. Photograph: ANI Photo

In Himachal Pradesh, fuel pumps at many places on Tuesday were turning away motorists, saying they have run out of stock as petrol and diesel were not being transported because of the truckers' strike.

Most petrol pumps in Dharamshala, Kullu-Manali, Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Chamba, Una and Shimla were turning away customers, while massive queues were seen outside the ones still in operation.

In Manali, Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu, however, said the situation was under control but it could worsen if the strike continued.

Responding to a question, Sukhu also said that the Union government needed to understand the demands of the truck drivers.

Meanwhile, a truckers' protest turned violent in the Kekri district of Rajasthan where a mob burnt a police vehicle and pelted stones at security personnel, leaving three injured, police said on Tuesday.

Police faced resistance by protesting truck drivers and locals in the Bandanwada area of Kekri district on Monday night when they tried to clear the road.

IMAGE: Police personnel stand guard as truck drivers protest in Mathura. Photograph: ANI Photo

"The police had gone to clear a traffic jam on Ajmer-Bhilwara highway when the mob pelted stones at the police, leaving three policemen injured. A vehicle of Kekri city police station was also burnt," Circle Officer of Kekri Sanjay Singh said.

He said that additional policemen were deployed in the area and the road was cleared.

"Efforts are being made to identify those involved in the incident," he said, adding that there is no jam today.

In Punjab and Haryana too, motorists queued up at fuel stations at many places over fears that stocks would run dry soon with truckers keeping off the roads.

In Haryana, private bus operators and some auto-rickshaw unions have also joined the protest against the new provision and some petrol pumps in Ambala reported a shortage of fuel.

Chandigarh, the common capital of the twin states, too saw vehicle owners panic-buying fuel.

IMAGE: Truck drivers block Agra-Delhi National Highway. Photograph: ANI Photo

Truckers in several states launched a three-day protest against the 'stringent provision' on Monday.

The situation in Punjab on the second day of the agitation prompted the petroleum dealers association to shoot off a letter to the government over the 'panic buying' situation in fuel stations affecting stock supplies.

Secretary general of the Punjab Petroleum Dealers Association Rajesh Kumar said there are nearly 4,000 petrol pumps in the state and fuel supply has been affected due to the agitation since Monday.

In Ludhiana, the supply of goods has also been affected as truck drivers protested on highways, according to Pankaj Sharma, secretary of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertaking.

"The transport of consignments to different places has already been badly hit," he added.

Sanjeev Garg, a petrol pump owner in Ludhiana, said he would continue selling fuel till his stock ran out. He said he had not received any fresh supply of fuel since Monday.

IMAGE: Private bus and truck drivers speak to the media in Dhar, MP. Photograph: ANI Photo

Long queues were witnessed at cooking gas agency offices as well. There was panic-buying of gas cylinders as people were apprehensive of its shortage if the strike continued longer.

With trucks, tempos and containers keeping off the roads, the supply of fruits and vegetables is also likely to be impacted, according to some traders.

In Haryana's Ambala, some petrol stations have already reported a shortage of petrol and diesel as no fresh supply has been received in the last two days, the president of the petroleum dealers association Ravinder Singh Dhillon said.

He said fuel is supplied to the region from Rewari, Hisar and Panipat depots but various truck unions were not letting tankers supply fresh petrol and diesel stocks.

In Madhya Pradesh, a transporters' body claimed the strike has affected the movement of nearly five lakh vehicles.

IMAGE: Autorickshaws parked in a row during a protest in Jind. Photograph: ANI Photo

However, the administration in various MP districts and major cities like Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior and Jabalpur said there was no shortage of fuel at petrol pumps under their areas of jurisdiction.

A large number of people were seen at petrol pumps in Bhopal, Indore and other cities on Tuesday morning to refuel their vehicle tanks amid the drivers' agitation.

Talking to PTI, All India Motor Transport Congress former vice president (western region) Vijay Kalra claimed, "Around five lakh small and big vehicles are not able to run in Madhya Pradesh due to the drivers' strike against the new law."

Kalra demanded that the government withdraw the provisions of strict punishment to drivers in "hit-and-run" cases and separate lanes be created for commercial vehicles, especially on highways, to prevent road accidents.

In Gwalior, the agitating drivers staged a protest on Jhansi Road.

IMAGE: Drivers' leading to a traffic jam on Dewas-Indore highway. Photograph: ANI Photo

According to officials, the public transport facilities in Indore city as well as the operation of inter-city passenger buses have been affected due to the drivers' strike, causing inconvenience to thousands of travellers.

Madhya Pradesh Petroleum Dealers Association president Ajay Singh told PTI in Bhopal that the fuel supply situation will be normalised across the state by Tuesday evening.

"We have persuaded our tanker drivers and they have reached the petrol depots to bring the fuel for supply at petrol pumps," he said.

On Monday night, Bhopal Collector Ashish Singh went to a petrol depot here to monitor the situation of fuel supply.

After the inspection, he said the petroleum companies were carrying out the work of fuel supply through their own vehicles.

IMAGE: All Jammu and Kashmir Oil Tankers Association members stage a protest in Jammu. Photograph: ANI Photo

Indore's Ahilya Chamber of Commerce and Industries president Ramesh Khandelwal said if the drivers' strike continues, the supply of essential commodities will worsen which will have a direct impact on consumers.

He said the government should reconsider the provisions of strict punishment in 'hit-and-run' cases.

Indore Collector Ilayaraja T said there was no shortage of petrol and diesel in the district and these fuels were being supplied continuously.

The collectors of various other districts including Rewa, Alirajpur, Anuppur, Shahdol and Narmadapuram also appealed to the people not to panic as adequate supply of fuel was being maintained.

The Maharashtra Food, Civil Supply and Consumer Protection Department on Monday requested police to ensure smooth and uninterrupted supply of petrol, diesel and LPG cylinders in the market.

It also urged for appropriate action under the Essential Commodities Act against drivers and transporters for the interruption of supply of petroleum products.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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