Information Minister DN Dhungyel said yesterday that the government would not permit trucks to carry loads beyond the carrying capacity specified by the manufacturer.
Minister clarified this during the discussion on the submission from the Dzongkhag Tshogdu (DT) of Pemagatshel to allow trucks to carry more than eight metric tonnes (MT).
Nanong-Shumar MP Dechen Zangmo proposed that the current ceiling made the life of truck owners and drivers difficult without a profit. “A revision would be of a big help to our truckers,” she said.
The minister informed the House that the government has initiated the amendment of the Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) Act.
“However, we cannot allow loads beyond the capacity specified by the manufacturer even in the new Act,” he said.
While acknowledging the profitability issues faced by the truckers, he said that most of the trucks plying in Pemagatshel were six wheelers and have the carrying capacity between eight and 10 MT.
“The carrying capacity of a truck is prescribed in the bluebook, and I don’t think officials would penalise the truckers by ignoring that,” he said.
According to the minister, a medium truck (six wheelers) is allowed to carry eight MT in the hills and 10MT in the plains, while a heavy truck (10 wheeler) are permitted 10MT in the hills and 15 MT in the plains.
Opposition MPs, however, argued that trucks were not allowed to carry more than eight MT irrespective of their varying capacities. They said that the Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) Act was clear on the capacity limits for vehicles and that it was not necessary that the issue had to be deliberated in the Parliament.
Panbang MP Dorji Wangdi said: “The RSTA Act is clear that we can allow trucks to carry goods as per the capacity specified by the manufacturer. Only thing is that we need to implement the Act.”
Drametse-Ngatshang MP Ugyen Wangdi said, “It would be good if the RSTA looks into the issue and solves the problem immediately.” He added that the RSTA Act was enacted in 1999 and amended in 2015.
Wamrong MP Karma Tenzin said that the current ceiling was fixed when the road conditions were not as good as they are today. “Today’s trucks are more advanced and can carry more loads,” he said, adding that a revision would not only benefit Pemagatshel, but all 20 dzongkhags.
Human settlement Minister Dorji Choden said that authorities needed to look at the supporting capacities of the bridges and road conditions.
She said that she was informed that RSTA has been implementing the rule as per the RSTA Act although she was appraised about truckers’ problems as well. “We need to see where the problem lies,” she said.