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In a relief to commuters, motor transport workers’ unions in Assam have withdrawn the 24-hour chakka bandh called on January 27 following an assurance by the state authorities to hold deliberations to address their issues.
“The authorities led by the labour and transport commissioners had a meeting with the representatives of the state motor transport workers’ unions and assured to constitute a committee for implementation of the welfare scheme proposed by the Assam government for private transport workers. Therefore, we have withdrawn the (first phase of agitation) 24-hour long chakka bandh on Wednesday,” a joint statement issued by the representatives of the unions here on Tuesday said.
“Along with the welfare scheme, the authorities have assured to hold discussions to fulfill other demands of the motor transport unions as well. However, if the talks fail, we will resume our agitation programme,” the union representatives said.
It may be mentioned that over 10 private motor transport unions had on Monday announced a series of protests (chakka bandh) demanding immediate implementation of the welfare scheme for private transport workers, starting from January 27.
In the subsequent phase, the unions scheduled a 48-hour chakka bandh during the Assam Assembly session on February 12 and 13, 2021 and a 72-hour chakka bandh from February 25 to 27, 2021, if their demands are not fulfilled by the Assam government.
Among the transport workers unions which have called the chakka bandh are All India Road Transport Workers’ Federation, Sadou Asom Motor Shramik Jutiya Parishad, Co-ordination Committee of Cab Operators, Assam Petroleum Mazdoor Union and North East Heavy Goods Driver and Owners Welfare Association.
“Till date, there is no government scheme for the welfare of the transport workers, which implies that the government is yet to acknowledge the service of motor transport workers. On the contrary, transport workers are being harassed by new rules and regulations,” the joint statement issued on Monday said.
The transport unions further alleged that even after seven months of lockdown when the vehicles had to be off the roads, the government did not deem fit to provide financial aid to the motor transport drivers and workers.
“The government is also not ready to waive off the tax of the transport vehicles,” the statement said.
(Edited by Christopher Gatphoh)