Nawanshahr: Auto-rickshaw drivers of the district here on Thursday held a “Rozgar Bachao” rally in protest against the alleged highhandedness of the District Transport Officer (DTO). The protesters accused the DTO of issuing them challans and imposing high penalties and impounding their vehicles for several days on flimsy grounds, thus severely affecting their means of livelihood.
Before taking out a protest march in the town and submitting a memorandum to the GA to DC, the protesters gheraoed the office of the DTO. The DTO was not present in his office at that time.
Addressing the dharna, trade union leaders including state president of IFTU, Kulwinder Wurraich and district president of Auto-rickshaw Union, Puneet Bachhori said, though they were already finding it difficult to make both ends meet due to high interest rates of banks and other input costs, the DTO was imposing high penalties running into thousands of rupees without listening to their pleas.
The leaders maintained that the transport officer, however, was turning a blind eye to the gross traffic violations being committed by vehicles of big transporters and tipper-owners on a routine basis. Jamhoori Adhikar Sabha president Jasveer Deep, KKU president Surinder Bains, district president of Bhatha Workers Union Gurdial Rakkar, among others, also addressed the dharna. The protesters warned of intensifying their agitation in case the DTO did not stop harassing them. DTO Deepak Rohela, however, on being contacted denied allegations of highhandedness against auto-rickshaw drivers. He said only those vehicles were being impounded where the drivers were unable to produce any documents.
He said that challans were also being issued as the auto-rickshaw drivers, in violation of their permit provisions, were found plying their vehicles outside the municipal limits. He also denied the allegation of non- action against heavy vehicles like tippers.
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