Truckers in West Bengal on Thursday claimed that 50 per cent vehicles had gone off the roads owing to cash crunch since demonetisation of high value notes. “There are nearly 90 lakh goods vehicles in the country, of which 3.75 lakh are registered in West Bengal,” president, Calcutta Goods Transport Association, Mahinder Singh Gill told newspersons. “Of this, nearly 50 per cent vehicles have gone off the roads in the state following demonetisation,” he claimed. Maintaining that the most affected were the inter-state goods vehicles, he said apart from entry tax being charged by several states at different rates, “extortion or bribes have to be paid for flimsy reasons.”
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“We have to pay all this money in cash. Even if our drivers have debit or credit cards who will accept bribe through plastic?” Gill said. “If our vehicle goes to Bangladesh, we don’t have to pay any bribe, but to go to another state within the country, we have to shell out a lot of money,” he said.
Claiming that 20 crore people in the country earn their living from the transport sector, he said, “Transport sector is second to agriculture. If farmers are committing suicide, we are also going through a similar situation.”
“Transport sector survives on cash economy, but with withdrawal limit of Rs 50,000 per week per current account in banks, we are facing huge problems,” Santosh Saraf, the association’s general secretary, said. Claiming that over 60 per cent of goods are carried through roads, he demanded that withdrawal limit be hiked to Rs 15 lakh per week per transporter.