Staging a protest against the Punjab government’s decision to disband truck unions in the state, the truckers’ union on Wednesday set a truck on fire and announced to boycott all the government-related transportation from August 10. They have also announced to burn five more trucks on August 16. The truck operators, under the banner of All India Punjab Truck Operators Union, raised anti-Punjab government slogans and blocked the Jalandhar-Moga highway near Malsian for two hours. They blamed Finance Minister Manpreet Badal for disbanding truck unions in the state.
The truck, which was burnt, was owned by Hemraj Singh of Nakodar. Hemraj’s father Bhupinder Singh said he had bought the truck for his son two months back by taking a loan, but due to government’s decision, his son had become unemployed which led him to burn his truck.
They union also announced month-long protests and said a ‘Chakka Jam’ would be organised on August 23.
On July 21, the state government had issued a draft notification disbanding truck operator unions.
Happy Sandhu, president of Truck Operators Union, said the Captain had earlier assured them during a meeting that the interests of small truck operators would be safeguarded but nothing was done.
Sandhu said the CM had informed them that the truck operators would be taken into confidence before finalizing the draft notification. “But the state government had secretly done everything and a copy of the notification could reach us only on July 29,” he said.
The truck unions have been banned under the Punjab Goods Carriages (Regulation and Prevention of Cartelisation Rules), 2017. The government had claimed the decision was taken to end mafia of goods transporters who had cartelised the truck business with political influence and were obstructing free and fair movement of goods transport.