‘Vehicle scrappage policy will send truck owner-drivers out of business’

The vehicle scrappage policy announced by the Central government on Thursday will make large number of drive-cum-owner truck operators go out of business, say industry players.

According to them, there are many trucks which are over 15 years of age but are plying short distances and for government organisations and are owned by their drivers.

“The freight rates are not lucrative for them to scrap their old vehicles and go for new vehicles. The EMI (equated monthly instalment) for a new truck will be about Rs 50,000 which will not be affordable by such operators,” M.R. Kumaraswamy, President, State Lorry Owners Federation-Tamil Nadu told IANS.

Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday announced the vehicle scrappage policy in the Lok Sabha.

The policy proposes to de-register commercial vehicles after 15 years in case of failure to get the fitness certificate. As a disincentive measure, increased fees for fitness certificate and fitness test may be applicable for commercial vehicles 15 year onwards from the date of initial registration.

The private vehicles are proposed to be de-registered after 20 years if found unfit or in case of a failure to renew registration certificate. As a disincentive measure, increased re-registration fees will be applicable for private vehicles too after this period.

The government also proposed that all vehicles of the Central government, state government, Municipal Corporations, Panchayats, State Transport Undertakings, Public Sector Undertakings and autonomous bodies with the Union and State governments may be de-registered and scrapped after 15 years from the date of registration.

In the next few weeks, draft notifications will be published and be in the public domain for a period of 30 days to solicit comments and views of all involved stakeholders, Gadkari said.

Kumaraswamy said: “We had urged the government that the scrappage policy should cover vehicles that are aged 20 years and above and reduce it gradually.”

He said there are about six lakh trucks in Tamil Nadu out of which about 25-30 per cent will be 15 years and above.

“Small operators will not able to go for a new BS-VI vehicle. They will also not get the input credit for Goods and Services Tax. The policy will benefit only those who will buy new vehicles,” S.K.Mittal, Executive President, All India Motor Transport Congress told IANS.

Mittal also claimed that the policy will further increase the level of corruption in issue of fitness certificates by the transport authorities.

(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at v.jagannathan@ians.in)