LAHORE: All Transporter Owners and Workers Alliance (ATOWA) has warned it will seize all entry and exit points of the provincial capital on May 4 if their demands are not met by the authorities.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Pakistan Goods Transporters Association (PGTA) General Secretary Nabeel Mahmood Tariq said all goods transporters associations, including the PGTA, Pakistan Mini Mazda Association, All Pakistan Truck Drivers Union, Punjab Goods Transport Association and All Pakistan Truck and Trailers Association, stand united against the unjust behavior of traffic police and other provincial agencies.
“We are fed up with the undue challans, highhandedness of the Customs Anti-Smuggling officials, alarmingly high rates of toll tax at Lahore Ring Road and illegal toll plazas in the city. Goods transporters are continuously raising their voice and have repeatedly tried to convey their demands to authorities, but no government department is willing to resolve our issues,” he maintained.
It is really unjust, Tariq lamented, that traffic wardens are issuing multiple challans for the same vehicle. It has become a habit of traffic warden to penalise truck drivers without any traffic violation. In addition, he claimed that Customs Anti-Smuggling officials are harassing and arresting truck drivers.
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“Transporters and truck drivers have no mechanism to confirm that goods loaded on their trucks are imported in the country legally or illegally. Most of the smuggled goods come from the northern areas, but no government dares to stop them in transit. These officials seize goods just to increase the rate of their bribe,” he alleged.
He highlighted that after completion of the southern loop of the Lahore Ring Road, Frontier Works Organisation (FWO), the custodian and operator of the road, has increased road usage tax by over 200 per cent. Earlier, a Mazda truck was paying Rs70 per trip but now it is being charged Rs210.
Similarly, for big truck earlier, truck drivers were paying Rs120 per trip and now this rate has been increased to Rs350 per trip, Tariq said and added that removal of illegal toll plaza from Ravi Road is another legitimate demand of goods transporters on which government is not paying any attention.
Tariq said goods transporters have given four days’ time to the government to accept their legitimate demand otherwise they will be compelled to close all entry and exit points of the city. He said city traffic police and provincial government will be responsible for all economic losses that will be caused by the strike.
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In the first phase, he underscored the goods transporters have decided to jam provincial government and if the situation persists then they will seize all goods transport across Punjab.