Schools will be closed in Delhi on Thursday and commuters could face problems because of a one-day transport strike called against the steep hike in traffic fines. Transport bodies said the “token strike” was against the amended Motor Vehicle (MV) Act. The strike has been called by the United Front of Transport Associations or UFTA which represents 41 associations and unions of goods and passenger segments including trucks, buses, autos and taxis in the Delhi NCR region, The strike could take a large number of auto rickshaws, taxis, Ola and Uber cabs, private buses off the roads.
Many parents received messages from schools informing them that educational institutes will be closed on Thursday.
Transport unions blamed both the centre and the Delhi government for strike. The sector is passing through its worst phase because of “rising economic uncertainties, exorbitant taxes and penalties and corruption”, they said.
“We have sought redressal of our grievances related to the new MV Act from both the centre and the Delhi government for the last 15 days, but no solution is there is sight forcing us to go on one-day strike,” UFTA general secretary Shyamlal Gola told .
“The exorbitant and unviable penalties imposed through the amended Motor Vehicle Act 2019 has increased the corruption, high handedness and harassment of vehicle owners and drivers,” Shyamlal Gola said.
The federation leaders demanded withdrawing of the provisions of the amended act such as steeply hiked penalties and limiting liability of insurer to Rs. 5 lakh. They also demanded perks such as insurance and medical facilities, and an increase in free parking times at airports and train stations.
The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, which came into effect on September 1, made several changes to traffic fines, toughening the penalty for violations like not wearing a seat belt, jumping red light and drunk driving.
Driving without a seat-belt can now invite a fine of Rs. 1,000, which was earlier Rs. 100. Use of mobile while driving can invite a fine between Rs. 1,000-5,000. For drunk driving, the fine has been hiked from Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 10,000.
However, many states have resisted the amended Motor Vehicles Act and refused to enforce the fines. BJP-ruled Gujarat was the first to slash the fines, some to as low as 10 per cent of the amount in the new rules.