Overloaded trucks cause damage of Rs 1,700 crore

May 7th, 2007

Bangalore: Unlike other states where overloaded trucks are strictly restrained, Karnataka has largely neglected taking action in this regard. Result: Plummeting road safety levels and a monstrous Rs 1,709 crore in damage to roads.

This cost includes damage to the state’s highways, major district roads and bridges. Irked by Karnataka’s cold response to this menace, the Centre gave the state government a dressing down recently and directed it to strictly implement the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act.

Union minister for road transport and highways T R Baalu, while speaking at the 10th National Road Safety Council meeting in Coimbatore recently, asked Karnataka and other states with high truck-traffic density to act tough against overloading.

According to Centre, road damage in Karnataka has been high in the mining belts — the roads that link Bellary, Chitradurga and Tumkur districts with that of ports in Mangalore, Karwar, Goa. What makes it worse is that the damage caused to roads by overloaded trucks was disproportionate to the gains, Baalu had observed.

Figures show Baalu’s observations are accurate. State’s gains from the mining industry during 2005-06 is a meagre Rs 84 crore, collected in the form of royalty. But nearly 90 per cent of the overloaded trucks in the state originate from the mining districts.

Why is the state government soft-pedalling action against overloaded trucks? The answer is obvious. Transportation of mining material is a multi-crore business and several powerful politicians are associated with it. In 2006, 492 cases were booked against illegal mining units. “It is such units which indulge in overloading ore and have a nexus with officials,’’ sources said.

Spiking the allegation, transport commissioner M C Narayana Gowda said: “We are coming down heavily against overloading. Apart from setting up six checkposts in Bellary and Tumkur districts, mobile squads have been put in place to deal exclusively with overloading.’’

During 2006-07, the department checked 4,80,236 trucks and booked 18,545 cases against vehicle drivers and owners for overloading. The total fine collected was Rs 8.92 lakh, he said.

Source: TOI(Bangalore epaper)

Entry Filed under: Bangalore Traffic News

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