West drivers form JAC to lobby for fraternity’s demands and expectations

Rudra Kaushik

Gyalshing, 27 Aug:

Drivers' associations of Gyalshing have requested the State Government to quash the Central Motor Vehicles [Amendment] Act 2019 introduced and implemented recently in the state.

They contend that the Act was against the interests of drivers hailing from economically weaker strata of the society. The complex rules and regulations, provision of hefty fines for petty traffic violations and other unnecessary norms under the new motor vehicle act are imposing unwanted troubles and sufferings on drivers, they insist. They want restoration of the Sikkim motor vehicle act.

The drivers have also demanded early disbursal of the relief package promised by the state government for drivers and have suggested that transparency be maintained in this process.

At a meeting held on Wednesday here, representatives from different driver associations also formed an adhoc joint action committee to work on the issues pertaining to the drivers.

Bishnu Thapa was appointed as chief convener, Subhan Rai as convenor, Buddha Rai as general secretary and Dichen Bhutia as treasurer of the adhoc committee.

Various issues concerning the drivers were placed and discussed at the meeting. The joint action committee has decided to raise the issues related to drivers in a democratic way.

The matter concerning the vehicle insurance loan being provided by the state government through the State Bank of Sikkim (SBS) was also discussed at the meeting. Terming the 9% interest on insurance loan levied by SBS very high and unaffordable, the committee has requested the state government to reduce the interest.

They have also requested the state government to extend the period of moratorium on repayment of vehicle insurance loan and Equated Monthly Installment (EMI) citing the COVID-19 setback.

"We will repay the vehicle insurance loan when the state becomes COVID-19 free and vehicle services resumes in full flow. Right now we are unable to pay our loan as our economic condition is stressed. We appeal to the state government to consider the problems being faced by the drivers and request for some constructive initiative to sort out the issues pertaining to the drivers," Buddha Rai said.