In a step towards realizing Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s promise to end truckers’ cartelization in the state, the Punjab Government on Friday notified the Punjab Goods Carriages (Regulation and Prevention of Cartelization Rules), 2017, barring goods carriage operators from forming cartels in the state.The move will help propel industrial and infrastructural investment by facilitating a favourable environment for industries and business houses to invest in the state, according to an official spokesperson.The notification bars operators and permit holders of goods carriages, or any organisation/body of such individuals in any form, from forming a cartel denying freedom of choice to the consignors and consignees to engage the services of such operators or permit holders. It further provides that no operator or permit holder of Goods Carriages would compel or coerce any other operator or a permit holder of goods carriage to become a member or partner with him, or cause hindrance in the conduct of business by another operator or permit holder of goods carriage.It further lays down that no operator or permit holder would stop any other operator or a permit holder of goods carriage/consignor/consignee who wishes to pick up goods from any local areas, towns or cities within the State in the normal course of their business, as permissible under the terms and conditions of permit granted to them by the competent authority.
The notification also provides for police recourse and penalty in the form of suspension or cancellation of the permit in case of violation. In case an operator or permit holder is hindered by another operator or permit holder in the conduct of business, he may make a complaint in writing to the Officer Incharge of the local Police Station, who shall ensure its safe passage. Such an affected operator or permit holder of goods carriage/ consignor/ consignee may also make a written complaint to the designated authority who, after holding a preliminary enquiry, shall forward the complaint with the recommendation to the authority competent to issue permits to take action under section 86 of the Act for suspension or cancellation of the permit, as the case may be.In order to streamline the goods transport system, the notification provides for fixing of minimum and maximum fares and freights, from time to time, in respect of different kinds of goods carriers on a per kilometre. The rates will be based wet and dry loads, and for the transportation of livestock, having regard to: different terrains to be traversed, cost of fuel and maintenance, the salaries and expenditure and all others relevant factors pertaining to the different kinds of goods carriages.The fixing of rates is aimed at preventing exploitation of consumers of such services at the hands of goods carriage permit holders on the one hand and the prevention of uneconomic competition amongst holders of goods carriage permits on the other.
The fares and freights so fixed would be applicable to all goods carriages, whether individuals or otherwise, who enter into a contract and load a consignment of goods from within the State of Punjab, notwithstanding that the point of delivery lies within or outside Punjab.Every consignment of goods shall be subject to negotiation within the minimum and maximum fare fixed under sub-rule, but if the consignor of goods deposits the maximum fare/ freight applicable to the consignment in the designated account, then the holder of the goods carriage permit shall be obliged to provide the carriage provided that it is not engaged elsewhere.The notification further stipulates that the provisions contained in these rules, shall be deemed to have become part of conditions of the permits already issued till date and to be issued in future.With regard to power to interpret, notification outlines that in case of any difficulty in implementing these rules, the power to interpret and clarify the rules, shall vest with the authority competent to register and grant permits for goods carriages. Likewise, on power to give directions, the notification elaborates that in case it is observed by the authority competent to grant permits for goods carriages that an operator or permit holder of goods carriage is not complying with any of these rules, he shall make a report to the Government seeking such directions, as may be necessary to ensure smooth conveyance of goods by the operators or permit holders of goods carriages in full compliance of the provisions of these rules.