The normal commuting system in many states is set to be affected today as the All India Motor Transport Organisation has called for a day-long nation-wide strike that will make buses, taxis, trucks and cabs stay off roads. The strike was called to protest against the proposed Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill. Among the demands of the transport organisation are withdrawal of hike in insurance premium and restricting the price hike in petroleum products.
While some states have expressed their support, few state associations refused to take part but extended moral support to the strike. The Communist Party of India, which is in power in Kerala, has announced its decision to support the strike. Buses of both the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation and private operators will not ply on the roads in Kerala.
In Karnataka, transport corporations will not join the strike but private taxi operators including Ola and Uber will participate. In Telangana, Auto Drivers Joint Action Committee of the state has decided to extend their support to the day-long strike.
According to protesters, the proposed vehicle amendment bill will open up the transport sector to monopolies and leave lakhs of workers jobless. They also said that the amendments would pose a threat to autorickshaws, would break the permit system for private buses and make goods transport costlier.
The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in August 2016 and was passed by it on April 10 last year. In April 2017, the bill was tabled in the Rajya Sabha and subsequently referred to a select panel. After taking the panel's recommendations into account, it was re-introduced in the Upper House. Currently, the bill is in the Rajya Sabha for the consideration and passage.
Last month, some opposition parties decided not to support the motor vehicles bill unless the changes proposed by it are incorporated in it. According to opposition, the proposed amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act would help the corporate and dilute the powers of the state governments.
"There will not be any compromise on the amendments proposed by us. There are seven-eight points. If the government refuses to incorporate them, we will defeat the bill on the floor of the House. The bill is anti-federal," the opposition had said.