Incorporating “Hydraulic trailer” and “puller” in the Motor Vehicle Rules will not only ensure faster movement of heavy lift and project cargo but also see much of it moving along the Indian coast
Strange as it may seem but the recent Indian government’s move according recognition to “hydraulic trailer” and incorporating it in the Motor Vehicle Rules 1989 will no doubt remove the greatest obstruction to smooth and seamless transportation of heavy lift and project cargo but will actually help boost coastal transportation. While facilitating movement of over dimensional cargo (ODC) and heavy lift consignment, the amended guidelines means having to put a cap on the weight of cargo that can be transported on the highways in keeping with the capacity of the bridges.
The government has finally conceded the demands of hydraulic operators and has amended the Rules by incorporating “Hydraulic trailer” and “puller” or prime mover. Accordingly, the government recently issued a gazette, notifying “hydraulic trailer” and “puller” as being part of the Motor Vehicle Rules 1989.
‘Hydraulic trailer’ and ‘puller’ not being defined in the Motor Vehicle Rules 1989 actually amounted to putting a virtual ban on movement of heavy cargo. Hence, such transport was possible only by acquiring special permissions from various authorities at every stage causing protracted delays and lengthy procedures.
“There being no clear laws nor any standard guidelines or set rules in place, granting permission for moving heavy cargo or ODCs by hydraulic trailers is considered on a case to case basis by the various concerned authorities, informed R. Narayan, General Secretary of Hydraulic Trailer Owners Association (HTOA). “The gazette notification will now pave the way for the amendment of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989, after which it will become a law.”
With simultaneous cap on movement of very heavy cargo by road likely to come in, such consignment will have to go by the coastal or inland waters contended Mr Narayan. Besides, many skywalks, flyovers and bridges having come up in many Indian cities there is no other alternative but to use the waterways.
According to the new law, Heavy Lift operators will have to make applications directly to the Union Ministry of Roads and Highways, Government of India for movement on National Highways. As a spin off to this amendment the trade sees several advantages coming its way. “For one, it will open the way to single window clearance which will be a major relief,” says R. Narayan, “as there is considerable delay at present, while crossing each state border. While moving across several state borders permission has to be taken separately from each individual state and that too only after the vehicle reaches the border of the next state. Getting the consignment inspected, complying with all the procedural requirements sometimes takes weeks and months, before the vehicle can move ahead. Now however, all this is set to change dramatically.”
For a Heavy Lift and Project forwarder to get repeat clearances will also become easier. A big relief being on the recognition side; they expect less harassment. Topping these advantages is the fact that infrastructure development in the country will get a boost with quicker transport of critical machinery.
What has brought about the change of heart was the government’s concern about the protracted delays in setting up various core industries and infrastructural projects. Every extension of target dates for completion of the projects results in project costs spiraling and repercussions on other downstream ventures. Hence, it decided on streamlining the bottlenecks in the transport system and in this case the rules.
According to Mr Narayan HTOA and especially Manish Kataria their Joint Secretary, spent lot of time and often on day-to-day basis to convince various authorities and prevail upon them about the need for amending the rules to meet the heavy transport requirements.. The pressure from the public sector companies whose projects were facing a cost overrun and delays also helped in the process. This change in the rules will help the trade provide cost effective and rapid service. Above all major projects connected with core industry will be able to stick to the schedule and help India develop its infrastructure and also become more competitive in the international market.