Countrywide protests by truck drivers against increase in quantum of punishment in hit-and-run cases in the newly-enacted criminal code impacted fuel supplies in some parts on Tuesday. The government reached out to the agitating transporters and after a late evening meeting between Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla and All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) representatives, the strike was called off.

“We had a discussion with All India Motor Transport Congress representatives. The government want to say that the new law has not been implemented yet. We want to say that before implementing Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 106/2, we will have a discussion with All India Motor Transport Congress representatives,” said Ajay Bhalla after the meeting.

Trucks are parked on a highway amid ‘rasta roko’ protest by truck drivers, in Nagpur

Trucks are parked on a highway amid ‘rasta roko’ protest by truck drivers, in Nagpur | Photo Credit: pti

Truck drivers had taken to streets across Jammu & Kashmir, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Some protests also took place in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal. They were demanding that the government withdraws a provision in the newly-passed Bharat Nyay Sanhita which increases the period of imprisonment from two years to ten years in hit-and-run cases,

AIMTC said that if the law is not back then most drivers will quit their jobs. Around 60-70 per cent of the trucks had not been on the roads for the last two days due to the protests. A significant number of the around 1 crore truck drivers in the country were on strike.

Video Credit: ANI

Top officials in Home Ministry explained that there is confusion regarding Section 106 (2) of the Bharat Nyaya Sanhita (BNS). Under the BNS, Section 106 (1) provides for a punishment of 0-5 years, while Section 106 (2) provides for a punishment of 0-10 years in ‘hit and run’ cases.

Auto fuel supply impacted

The strike impacted supply of petrol and diesel to auto fuel retail outlets. States such as Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Punjab were facing fast depleting stocks with no supplies coming in at present.

The strike’s impact was felt mainly on motorists in urban areas of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Queues were seen near petrol pumps in Hyderabad and other towns including Warangal and Vijayawada.

In Secunderabad, the LPG bulk tanker drivers were on strike. Strike had not yet started in Tamil Nadu.

In Maharashtra, people faced inconvenience due to a complete halt of petrol supply in Akola, Chandrapur, Ahmednagar and Manmad districts. “Sixty per cent of petrol pumps are functional in Maharashtra. The supply of petrol and diesel is being done only by the dealer’s tankers. There is a complete shutdown of transporters and tankers which is not in our control. In Mumbai, the supply of petrol was impacted from the Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) depot in Wadala,” said Uday Lodh, President of the Consortium of Indian Petroleum Dealers (CIPD).

(With inputs from Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai Bureaus)