Odisha govt to revise mineral freight again in five dists

Bhubaneswar: Taking note of the ongoing protest by the Mini Truck Owners’ Association against the prevailing freight rate for mineral transport, the Odisha government has decided to revise the freight rate in five districts for the second time since August last year.

Informing the media today, Commerce and Transport minister Ramesh Majhi said the state government had earlier fixed the freight for mineral transport in Angul, Jajpur, Keonjhar, Sundargarh and Jagatsinghpur districts. But protesting the freight rate, by the mini truck association in Keonjhar had staged a dharna, badly affecting mineral transport in the district for the last five days.

“Acting on the writ petition filed by the Association, the Odisha High Court has directed the state government to direct the Transport Commissioner to hold a meeting with the Mini Truck Owners’ Association and the collectors of five districts. On the basis of the opinion of the district collectors and the technical committee, the government will announce the revised freight rate soon,” he added.

He said the members of the Mini Truck Owners’ Association had staged dharna demanding compensation towards the loss they sustained in mineral transport within a distance of 100 kms.

Talking to OTV, Dilip Panda, a truck owner of Joda area in Keonjhar district, said “If the state government takes all aspects, including the monthly instalment of the truck owner, his livelihood and the maintenance of his vehicle while revising the freight rate, then it will be a welcome step.”

Notably, the state government, in order to rein in truck owners who used to charge arbitrarily and exorbitantly for their services earlier, had fixed the mineral freight rate in August last year. But following a protest by the truck owners, the government had revised the freight rate in November the same year.