Nearly 5 lakh truckers in Tamil Nadu will be off the road from December 27 for an indefinite period. Further, no truck will be allowed to enter the State from that day. The truckers’ main grouse is the State government’s insistence on buying speed ‘governors’; reflecting stickers and GPS devices only from ‘specific’ vendors.
The truckers claim that such insistence is ‘unfair’ as they should be allowed to choose the vendor from the market. The price difference for the products (all the three) available in the market and the ones prescribed by the government is nearly ₹15,000. This means, for 5 lakh trucks, it will be nearly ₹750 crore. If buses are also included, this figure could triple, the truckers claimed.
The State Lorry Owners Federation-Tamil Nadu (SLOF-TN) based in Namakkal with the support of Bengaluru-based South zone Motors Transporters Welfare Association (SIMTA) have announced the indefinite strike.
The strike could affect trade worth nearly ₹5,000 crore. The State government should talk with the truckers immediately to sort out the issues, said SLOF-TN President MR Kumaraswamy.
Many truckers are leaving the industry due to poor business. The Covid-19 pandemic has aggravated the situation. “In this hard time, we need some solutions for our problems from the Tamil Nadu government,” said GR Shanmugappa, General Secretary, SIMTA.
P Sundarraj, Managing Director of Tiruchi-based Subham Freight Carriers India Pvt Ltd, said the State government insisting to buy devices only from specific vendors is ‘unjustified’. While reflecting stickers are available in the market at around ₹800, the State government wants to buy from ‘particular’ vendors that at around ₹2,0000, he said.
On GPS devices, the State government should allow truckers to use devices from any manufacturers who get AIS 140 approval. “We are using GPS for not only vehicle tracking , we are using integrated devices for functions such as geo fencing, tyre management, service schedules and maintenance schedules,” said Sundarraj.
The cost of GPS devices recommended by the State government is costlier by nearly ₹10,000 than those available in the market. Also, government officials claim that the GPS servers are maintained in China. This is incorrect . Most of the service providers’ servers are maintained in India only, he said.
There are many vehicles that have already installed the devices. However, the Transport department wants them to be removed and devices prescribed by them should be installed, he said.
“We are willing to install all the devices. However, allow us to buy as per our freedom from any vendor. Every day, nearly 20,000 vehicles registered in other States enter Tamil Nadu but do not face any of the above issues,” he added.
A senior government official said, while the market is flooded with fake devices, the State government has a list of vendors who provide only genuine products. There are also security concerns as most of ‘fake’ GPS devices are Chinese brands and servers could be located in China. “If a genuine vendor approaches us, we are ready to give the license to supply the devices,” he said.