Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal today announced all truck unions will be revived and a Transporters Welfare Board with a corpus of Rs 25 crore would be created once the next SAAD-BSP alliance government was formed besides coming out with a bonanza for auto-rickshaw owners by stating the alliance government would come out with a liberal policy to change all auto-rickshaws with e-rickshaws.

Addressing a press conference here along with SAD Transport Wing President Paramjit Singh, the SAD President said the Congress government had struck at the very livelihood of small truckers by abolishing truck unions. “We will revive truck unions to ensure small truckers get their due. We will also ensure there is no outside interference in the truck unions, including political interference, by laying down guidelines that only a member of the Union can become its President

Mr Sukhbir Badal said simultaneously coordination committees would be established with members from truck unions, trade representatives as well as the government to ensure the interests of truckers as well as the industry are safeguarded. He also announced that a Transporters Welfare Board would be established with a corpus of Rs 25 crore to ensure extension of humanitarian help to members in case of extraordinary circumstances like the recent Covid pandemic.

Among other measures aimed at ensuring the welfare of the trucking industry, Mr Badal announced that in case of issuance of tenders the local truck union would get precedence. “We will also end harassment being done to truckers by issuing annual stickers which will ensure that no truck is stopped on the road for checking of papers”. He also announced that a onetime settlement scheme would also be introduced to help truckers settle pending tax arrears. He said portable weigh scales would be introduced to check the menace of over loading on highways and that special driving schools would be established at all district headquarters to facilitate youth seeking a heavy vehicle driving license.

Mr Badal said the SAD-BSP alliance was aware of the problems of school vans which had become unviable due to heavy taxation. “We will reduce road tax for school vans as compared to commercial vehicles”.

The SAD President also announced a bonanza for auto-rickshaw drivers. He said the next alliance government would come out with a liberal scheme to facilitate replacement of auto-rickshaws with e-rickshaws. “We will come out with an arrangement ensuring easy sale of current auto-rickshaws followed by provision of new e-rickshaws to the owners at nominal rate of interest. The e rickshaws will not be charged any registration fee”. He also announced that drivers, conductors and rickshaw owners would be eligible for accident and health insurance cover of Rs ten lakh besides a natural death cover of Rs three lakh and an accidental death cover of Rs four lakh. _

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