Logistics

Scrappage policy will put 2-lakh plus truck owners in dire straits

TE Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on July 16, 2020 Published on July 14, 2020

Not the right time for scrappage policy, say vehicle owners

With the clamour for a scrappage policy gaining momentum, the livelihood of around 2 lakh plus owners of single trucks of 15-years and above is under threat. The old trucks ply short distances (less than 200 km) and are used mainly to load materials like rubbish, scrap, construction materials and waste. This sector is likely to be erased if the policy is implemented, fear truckers.

The Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, in October 2019, issued draft guidelines for setting up, authorisation and operation of Authorized Vehicle Scrapping Facility. It is only a matter of time that the policy is implemented, fear truckers.

The All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) alleged that the draft of the scrapping policy rolled out in May 2016 has gone through multiple mutations and kept under wraps since then to suit the ulterior object of benefiting the automotive sector.

Livelihood under threat

On an average, for every vehicle at least two families or eight people are dependent. This means, sustenance of around 8 crore people is threatened with one crore transport vehicles to be destroyed, he said.

“Livelihood of lakhs of single/double vehicle operators will be ruined if the government implements the scrappage policy without taking care of the interest of this community,” said M Raju, a Trichy-based lorry owner. In Tamil Nadu, there could be 50,000 to one lakh trucks that are over 15 years providing employment to over 2 lakh people. “What will happen to these people if their only source of income is taken away?,” he asked.

The government should increase the cut-off for old vehicles to 20 years instead of 15 years. This will give some breathing time for the operators, he said.

Single vehicle operators

According to GR Shanmugappa, General Secretary, South India Motor Transporters’ Welfare Association (SIMTA), implementation of old vehicle scrapping policy will affect the entire truck industry especially those who have old vehicles who are mostly single vehicle owners for whom that is the ‘only’ bread-and-butter.

The government should consider the implementation of the scrapping policy for vehicles of more than 20 years and procure the scrap material at ₹30 per kg for the composite material as a whole, he said.

In Namakkal region, the trucking hub of South India, there are nearly 10,000 truck operators with over 25,000 vehicles. Of this, nearly 5,000 are owned by single/double vehicle operators. Their livelihood is in danger, said R Vangilee, Secretary of the State Lorry Owners’ Federation - Tamil Nadu and President of Namakkal Taluk Lorry Owners’ Association.

With the entire truck industry in doldrums following the Covid-19 pandemic, the government should not think of implementing the policy now, he added.

Phased approach sought

The government should consider implementing the scrappage policy for vehicles above 20 years and in phases. For instance, the first year, it should scrap vehicles that are 20 years; the second year it should be vehicles that are 19 years and so on. This will give sufficient time for the operators to plan their career, he added.

“Scrappage policy will not have any major impact on transport trade as such. Twenty year old vehicle neither ply on highways nor in city limits. The 15-year-old vehicle re-registration is not in order. There is no logic by pressurising a poor lorry owner with additional cost for a 15-year-old vehicle,” said Mahendra Arya, President, All India Transporters Welfare Association.

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Published on July 14, 2020
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