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January 14, 2020

Goods transporters call off strike after talks with Sindh, federal govts

Top Story

January 14, 2020

KARACHI: On the assurances of Governor Sindh, Imran Ismail, the goods transporters called off their eight-day-long strike on Monday.

According to a press statement from the Governor House, Ismail visited the truck stand of the goods transporters on Monday and negotiated with them. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s member of provincial assembly, Shahzad Awan and Adviser on Maritime Affairs, Mehmood Molvi, were also part of the negotiation. The United Goods Transporters Alliance (UGTA) presented their demands to the governor. The UGTA is an alliance of 18 goods transporters associations in Karachi.

Speaking to the media, the governor thanked the transporters for trusting him. Initially, the governor termed the issues as very complicated, but gradually they ended up in resolving the issues, as they needed to run the economic cycle of the country. The industrialists, he said, were also taken on board for the negotiations. As for the implementation of Axle Load Regime, he said it was implemented from Monday. Those police officers who illegally charge the transporters will be dealt with in accordance with the law. As for opening new driving license centers, Imran Ismail said the government will work for that.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed the chairman National Highway Authority (NHA) to make the weighing meters functional on highways. The ministry for trade has also been asked to give transporters the status of industry. The 13-acre land at the Port Qasim, the prime minister assured, will be handed over to the transporters soon for their parking.

On the other hand, Sindh’s Minister for Transport, Syed Awais Shah in a meeting with the UGTA announced that the authority of issuing driving licenses will now be handed over to the Sindh Transport Department from the traffic police through a legislation from the Sindh Assembly. The UGTA had demanded to make the procedure for granting driving licenses to goods transporters easy and corruption-free. They also stressed for granting industrial status to the goods transporters, besides, withdrawing increase in the fees of route permit and token tax. The UGTA had also asked the Karachi Port Trust to allot a parking area for the city’s local goods transporters so that the trailers parked on the roadsides can stop without obstructing the traffic flow. They also demanded proper parking arrangements in the Port Qasim Authority for car carriers and trailers. The transporters also demanded allowing them access on the Mai Kolachi Road.

Regarding the route permit fees, Sindh’s Minister for Transport Syed Awais Shah announced that the Sindh government would form a committee, which will determine reduced fees for the route permit.

Addressing a press conference with the goods transporters at the Mauripur Bus Stand, the minister said that the provincial government has accepted the demands of transporters and assured them the transport department will also address the issue of fitness certificate that goods transporters are supposed to obtain. He said in the current economic crisis of the country, strikes are never fruitful. “More than 90 percent issues of goods transporters lie with federal government,” he said and added the biggest issue is the resignation of the Federal Minister For Communication, Murad Saeed.

Those in the federal government, he pointed out, are not apt enough to resolve the issues of goods transporters. “The Sindh government does not want to further complicate the issues like the federal government,” he said. “Some of the issues have been resolved on immediate basis, while other issues will be addressed shortly,” he said. “I wish the federal government had shown the same level of interest in resolving the demands of the transporters.”

If the Pakistan Peoples Party’s had a government in the Centre, they would have resolved the issues in eight hours.

President UGTA Muhammad Aslam said that their issues have been addressed by the Sindh government. “For several years our problems remained unaddressed; today they have been resolved,” he said. Commissioner Karachi Iftikhar Shallwani and DIG traffic were also part of the meeting.

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