Mumbai, (The Hindu): Senior members of the Marathi Kamgar Sena on Tuesday met Transport Commissioner Shekhar Channe to voice their protest against the overloading of vehicles by goods carrier operators as well as alleged exploitation by Transport Department officials. The Kamgar Sena has warned of another protest soon if their demands are not met.
Letters go unheeded
On June 4, the Kamgar Sena had begun a three-day hunger strike at Azad Maidan and subsequently met Mr Channe to air their grievances. They claim to have written 14 letters to his office which went unheeded.
“We are all set to declare a city-wide chakka jam protest. However, we decided to meet Mr. Channe one last time before we took the step,” Kamgar Sena President Mahesh Jadhav said.
The demands put forth in Tuesday's meeting include enforcement of a ban on overloading of vehicles, which, although done by goods carrier operators end up penalising drivers, who have to pay fines when caught. They also demanded prosecution of agents who are allegedly hand-in-glove with Transport officials in exploiting the drivers. Kamgar Sena officials have claimed that they have submitted a list of 32 such agents to Mr. Channe. Mr Jadhav said if their demands are not met soon, they would call upon all 3,000 drivers attached to their union to park their trucks outside Mantralaya.
‘Info being leaked’
Advocate Sagar Gharat, vice-president of the Kamgar Sena, said, “The Transport Department has launched a two-day operation to keep a check on overloaded vehicles being charged fines but allowed on the road. The fact is, before this action was started, agents were alerted and no vehicles were overloaded. We suspect that information is being leaked from the Transport Department but the Transport Commissioner’s response was that he is new to the post and no action is airtight.”
The Kamgar Sena has also claimed they have audio evidence of agents getting Transport officials to stop investigating the alleged nexus with agents and operators.
Mr. Channe, however, said, “We have been taking action since Tuesday morning to weed out corrupt personnel or agents named by the Kamgar Sena. They have not submitted any video evidence to us and if what they are saying is true, we will take action.”
Reacting to allegations about information being leaked from his department, Mr. Channe said, “It is possible the information got leaked; it is not uncommon.”
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