January 2, 2024
Nationwide Transportation Strike: Drivers Protest Stringent Hit-and-Run Laws
- Since January 1, truck drivers across states like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh have staged protests, impacting roads, highways, and fuel supplies. This collective action arises from discontent over the newly implemented Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita (BNS) concerning hit-and-run cases.
Overview of the New Law:
- The recently enacted BNS replaces the colonial-era Indian Penal Code. It prescribes stringent penalties for drivers involved in serious road accidents due to negligent driving and subsequently fleeing the scene without notifying authorities. Offenders under this law could face up to 10 years of imprisonment or a fine of Rs 7 lakh.
Reasons Behind the Protests:
- Transporters, including truck, bus, and tanker drivers, are protesting these regulations due to concerns raised by private transport operators. They argue that the law might unjustly penalize drivers and potentially expose them to mob violence when attempting to transport the injured to hospitals. The All India Motor & Goods Transport Association insists that the decision lacked consultation with stakeholders and urges a repeal or at least discussions and consultations regarding the law’s implications.
Impact of the Strike:
- The strike has significantly disrupted transportation networks, with blockades affecting roads and highways in various states. Reports indicate that nearly five lakh vehicles faced movement restrictions in Madhya Pradesh alone. The disruption has also caused lengthy queues at petrol pumps, impacting fuel availability in regions like Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra.
- The nationwide transportation strike, triggered by discontent with the strict penalties for hit-and-run cases under the new Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita, continues to impact vehicular movement and fuel supplies across multiple states. The drivers’ demands for consultations and reconsideration of the law remain a focal point amid ongoing protests.