SHILLONG, Oct 3: An association of traders and transporters of the state said that multiple weighbridges in the state is one of the main reasons which has led to the higher cost of transportation.
On Wednesday, the Association of Meghalaya Traders and Transporters, while petitioning the Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma said, “In other states the transportation cost is cheaper, in Meghalaya it is not so. The multiple weighing bridges system and compulsory multiple weighment in the same Highway within the same district at various places in Meghalaya is one of the main reasons which has led to the higher cost of transportation in the state.”
The association pointed out that only one weighing bridge in one district should be established on a single Highway.
The association pointed out that in East Jaintia Hills district within a short span of road in between Ratacherra and Khliehriat, there are two weighing bridges one at Umtyra and the other at Rtacherra on the same NH 44 (now NH 6). Same is the case in West KhasiHills, there are two weighing bridges in between Mawpun and Riangdo.
Moreover, the association said that the rate fixed by the government as weighment fee in all weighbridges is exorbitantly high at Rs 200 per truck each time it is weighed.
President of the association, Enrico D Pasi said that the amount of fee charged by the government establishment should be corresponding to the service rendered and should not be exorbitantly high.
“The only service which the weighing bridges are providing is issuing of weighing certificate, which can hardly cost about Rs 2,” Pasi stated.
According to the Association of Meghalaya Traders and Transporters the establishment cost of weighbridge is a one time affair and can be easily recovered during the course of contract period between the private licensee and the government.
Giving a rough estimation, the association pointed out that the cost of construction and installation of one weighing bridge is maximum Rs 30 Lakhs.
The associationalso pointed out that the current traffic flow of heavy goods laden vehicles which pass through NHAI Toll Plaza is not less than 2000 and during the coal mining season it crosses 4000.
“Considering the amount of investment and the amount of recovery charged by the government authorized licensees, shows that the government is giving undue favour and benefits to the private parties in the name of providing services,” the Association of Meghalaya Traders and Transporters pointed out.
It also stated that the amount of profit made by private parties is astronomically high and the annual profit made by the Licensee of Government weighing bridges is more than Rs 14 Crores under the current traffic scenario and it doubles with the opening of coal mining.
The Association of Meghalaya Traders and Transporters suggested to the state government that it should bring down the weighing fee to Rs 10 per truck.
“At Rs 10 per truck, currently the licensee will be able to make Rs 73 Lakh annually and the amount doubles with the coal mining season,” the association estimated.
According to the association, fee charged by the government for any service rendered should be minimal and whenever private parties are involved they are entitled to make reasonable profit.
“However, the case does’nt seem to be so when it comes to weighing bridges and the government has mistakenly taken them as revenue sources and the private parties are making astronomical profit,” the association added.