Thursday, May 15, 2014

Finally in the offing - Ban on trucks carrying protruding loads HIGH COURT ASKS DGP FOR ACTION TAKEN REPORT AND PROPOSED ACTION RANJIT SINGH

GANGTOK, 13 May: Travelling along the roads and highways of Sikkim is set to become safer with the likelihood of a ban on goods carriers carrying protruding rods, poles and other such materials which endanger motorists and pedestrians alike.
Constructions materials such as iron rods and poles which extend beyond the rear end of a goods carrying vehicle are known to have been the cause of thousands of accidents and deaths across India. In this regard, the High Court of Sikkim has taken note of a petition filed by SaveLife Foundation, New Delhi for directions to the authorities to enforce a ban on goods carriers carrying construction materials such as rods and poles which extend beyond 1 metre of the rear-end of the vehicle.
In fact, the Court has sought a compliance report from the concerned agencies, namely the Transport Department and the DGP, Sikkim Police, on banning goods carriers from carrying protruding material beyond 1 metre as notified by the central ministry.
The petition, a public interest litigation, was filed in the court in April by the Foundation’s head, Piyush Tiwari. Taking note of it, the High Court had admitted the petition and sought response from the State government agencies particularly the Transport Department which is the concerned agency which looks into and governs all matters concerning motor vehicles.
In fact it needs to be noted that the central government, through the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had issued a notification on 05 March, 2014, by which it withdrew the provision in the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 which allowed goods carriers to extend their load consisting of poles or rods or indivisible load. Trucks could now carry such loads only “…so long as the projecting part or parts do not exceed the distance of 1 metre beyond the rear most point of the motor vehicle”.
This is a recent notification, the draft of which was published by the Ministry in October 2013 inviting objections and suggestions. As there were none forthcoming the notification came into effect from 05 March, 2014. SaveLife Foundation has sought that this notification be given immediate effect in the state of Sikkim as well. It also claims that such practice by goods carriers by which they are allowed to carry such rods and poles which extend beyond their rear has caused many accidents and deaths.

In light of the notification issued by the Union Ministry and the letter petition submitted, the High Court had sought a compliance report from the concerned department. On 09 May, the last date of hearing, the state Transport Department filed its compliance report which the division bench of the high court took on record. However, the court made it known that it wanted the action taken report and proposed action to be taken by the Director General of Police by way of an affidavit in this regard.  A time period of three weeks has been allowed for this. 

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