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Admin caught napping

Rampage on NH 40 by truckers

SHILLONG: The Government machinery is yet to wake up from the slumber to deal with the repeated rampage perpetrated by the drivers of coal-laden on the National Highway 40.
Sources on Sunday said that there are multiple reasons for the present impasse  which include casual approach on the part of the bureaucrats to deal with the situation, intelligence failure and lack of leadership at the Home (police) level.
The sources said that violent acts of the truckers should not be seen as a mere law and order problem.
The drivers were apparently incensed by the delay in the clearance of trucks at the weighbridge at Umling. Many coal-laden trucks have apparently been stuck along the highway for days.
With people travelling on the NH-40 facing hardship due to the stand-off between the truckers and those who man the weighbridge at Umling, neither the Home department nor Transport department have made any efforts to find a viable solution to address the concerns of the truckers.
On February 1, the truckers attacked  the Umling weighbridge premises  which include  the weigh bridge counter, DMR,  Sales Tax and the Transport office as they had to wait  for at least four days for clearance of formalities to carry on with the transportation of coal.
The delay on the part of the Government to address the concerns of the truckers coupled with intelligence failure resulted in the truckers again on February 6 blocking NH 40 with boulders for the imposition of ‘no entry’ and also for the delay in clearing the movement of the trucks.
On February 7, there was a repeat of the incident.
When contacted, officials from Home and Transport department could not give a clear cut reply on how to address the issue.
Since it was for the third consecutive time that the truckers created havoc resulting in lawlessness in Ri Bhoi, the worst affected were those who travel through NH 40 as on two occasions, the regular traffic was affected and the commuters were stranded for several hours.
Neither the State Government nor the truckers have released any official statement regarding the current crisis.
Sources said that the police department is not able to effectively handle the situation in the absence of a full-fledged DGP.
Though senior police official Rajiv Mehta was appointed on January 9 as the new DGP, he is yet to take charge.
A few commuters said that the stand-off between the truckers and those who man the weighbridge should not affect those who use NH 40 to go to Guwahati.
Official sources on Sunday however revealed that the State Government is likely to appeal before the NGT to extend the time period for transportation of extracted coal.
The NGT had allowed the transportation of coal till February 11. The tribunal during the hearing on January 29 had also extended the validity period for payment of the royalty on the coal extracted by another 14 days.

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