Sand lorry owners' strike continues as talks fail

Sand lorry owners' strike continues as talks fail

Construction works worst affected by the ongoing stir

Lorry owners have been on strike for the past 15 days to protest the lack of rules on transportation of sand in the State.  At the meeting, Transport Minister R Ashoka said the government was willing to provide a temporary three-month permit to transport sand as a standby arrangement until the State implements its new sand policy.

He also said the Government was willing to reduce the fine for violation of rules by sand lorries from Rs 50,000 to a maximum of Rs 25,000. Another demand of the Federation, seeking the release of 60 lorries seized by various departments will also be met, the minister said. However, the Federation, which initially agreed to the government proposals later decided to continue the strike till the government came out with details of what it refers to as temporary permit.

“Who will issue the permits? who will sign them?” they sought to know. Ashoka clarified that jurisdictional deputy commissioners will issue the permits and the rates would be fixed by the district task force on sand transportation headed by deputy commissioners. However, the minister’s assurance did not convince the Federation.

Federation President G R Shanmugappa said though the government had identified places for collection of sand, various departments including Revenue, Forest and Transport levied fine varying from Rs 40,000 to Rs one lakh due to lack of clear cut rules to implement the new sand policy.

Meanwhile, construction works are being hit from all corners possible. Starting Wednesday, Karnataka Stone Crushers’ Association has given its support to the ongoing sand strike by taking all its 11,000 machines off duty.

The stone crushers’ protest has now been tagged along with the ongoing sand transporting lorry and concrete equipment owners’ strike.