Govt admits rampant overloading in State
Blames corrupt RTO officials for menace
The State Transport Authority (STA) has launched a special six-day anti-overloading campaign throughout the State from September 19 to September 25.
The Transport Commissioner and STA Chairman’s office had written a letter (XVIII 15/20229(Eaf) 12694 TC to all RTOs and Assistant RTOs that carrying excess load exceeding permissible capacity not only violates the provisions of MV Act but also seriously damages road infrastructure, endanger road safety and affects employment.
Besides, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has instructed that in addition to penal action under MV Act, criminal action should be taken against the offenders under the Damage to Public Property Act.
However, there was skepticism over the anti-loading drive succeeding as it is alleged that the RTO officials were allowing the overloaded chips, stone, cement, fly ash, rice laden trucks to ply by taking bribes.
Even Transport Commissioner and STA Chairman Arun Bothra have admitted this.
In WhatsApp messages to the RTOs, Bothra said, You are well aware that overloading of sand, chips, cement, ash, and rice is rampant in many parts of the State. Allegations have been received that some of these vehicles are plying in the connivance of some officials. The Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety has directed to take stern action against overloading.“
“In view of the above, it is planned to conduct a special drive from today for five days. ACT, Enforcement has been directed to issue necessary guidelines for conducting the drive. Please put all your resources into making the drive a success. In view of the allegation, I will personally monitor the result of the drive. You may seek help from the police if there is a need. Please acknowledge the instructions by posting a yes message, Bothra said.
However, Orissa High Court and road safety expert Subrat Kumar Nanda said, ‘There is no coordination between the different Government agencies. Overloading can be stopped at the source itself. For example, excess sand loading can be prohibited by the Tehsildar from the river beds.”
The permits for overloaded vehicles can be canceled. The RC book and the vehicle driver’s Driving Licence can be canceled. Besides, cases can be lodged even against Government vehicles for overloading under the MV Act. By issuing circulars and Press releases road safety cannot improve, Nanda said.