Truck drivers protesting against a provision in the new penal law on hit-and-run road accidents, called off their strike in Nashik district of Maharashtra on Tuesday after the local authorities assured to look into their demands.
The agitation by truck drivers, which was launched in several states in the country on Monday, continued on the second day, leading to non-delivery of petroleum products at depots and people rushing to petrol pumps amid the fear of fuel shortage.
In Maharashtra, the truck drivers have been staging protests at various places, including capital Mumbai, Nagpur, Solapur, Dharashiv, Navi Mumbai, Palghar, Nagpur, Beed, Hingoli, Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, Nashik, Gadchiroli and Wardha.
In Nashik, the fuel transporters started the agitation at Panewadi near Manmad on Monday. More than 1,000 trucks and tankers were parked in Panewadi area as part of the nationwide protest.
Panewadi village near Manmad town in Nandgaon taluka of the district has fuel depots of various companies, including Bharat Petroleum, Hindustan Petroleum and Indian Oil. Fuel is supplied in many parts of the state from these depots. Indian Oil has an Indane LPG bottling plant also at Panewadi.
As a result of the strike, long queues of people were seen at various fuel stations in Nashik city and parts of the district from Monday evening as reports of the transporters’ strike and fuel shortage due to it created panic among people.
In a bid to find a solution, District Collector Jalaj Sharma and Superintendent of Police Shahaji Umap held a meeting with the transporters, dealers, petroleum company officials and other stakeholders at Panewadi on Tuesday.
Following an assurance by the collector, the transporters agreed to call off the strike. It was decided to provide police protection if needed for the transport of fuel. As a result, transport of fuel resumed from Panewadi this evening, officials said.
“Representatives of dealers and transporters attended the meeting. We heard their concerns and assured them to take their grievances and views to the Centre. As a result, they agreed to resume their operations,” collector Sharma said after the meeting.
“We will immediately send information regarding their issues and grievances to the Union government and workshops will be conducted for transporters to explain the new law to them and to clear the misunderstanding in their mind about its provisions. I appeal to people also not to panic as regular fuel supply will continue,” he said.
Superintendent of police Shahaji Umap, who was also present for the meeting, assured that the police administration will take care that there will be no problems or obstacles for the transport of fuel.
Talking to PTI, Vikas Karkale, one of the agitating transporters, said, “In the meeting, the district collector gave an assurance to us that our views and demands will be conveyed to the Union government. Therefore, we have decided to call off the strike and regular operations have started. However, if the Union government implements this law, we will again go on a strike.” Under the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), which replaces the colonial era Indian Penal Code (IPC), 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. The punishment in such cases was 2 years in the British-era IPC. (PTI)