Angry truckers attack Umling weigh bridge, two staff hurt

Smoke billows from the weigh bridge office after it was set on fire by truckers  at Umling, Ri Bhoi District, on Sunday. (ST)
Smoke billows from the weigh bridge office after it was set on fire by truckers
at Umling, Ri Bhoi District, on Sunday. (ST)

NONGPOH: In one of the worst ever attack on State government machineries in Meghalaya, hundreds of truckers transporting coals created mayhem at the Umling weigh bridge on National Highway 40 on Sunday afternoon causing damages to government offices and also injuring two government servants.
The Sales Taxes office and the weigh bridge (DMR) were ransacked and torched leading to injuries to Enforcement Checker H Kharkongor (35) and Weight Bridge staff Baral Thangkhiew (35) who were shifted to Nongpoh Civil Hospital for treatment.
The truckers allegedly took matters into their own hands leading to the violent episode after having being asked to stay put near the weigh bridge for the past three days.
Damian Rongrin, Assistant Enforcement Inspector, who was witness to the violence, informed this scribe that over one hundred truckers comprising drivers and handymen and armed with iron rods, petrol bombs, stones and canes attacked the Umling weigh bridge premises comprising of the weigh bridge counter, DMR and Sales Tax and the Transport office.
“The truckers also locked some staff inside their office, smashed the windows panes, ransacked all the three offices and finally torched them,” Rongrin informed.
The police party stationed at the spot could do little and fled from the scene, being outnumbered ten to one, he said.
When the attack subsided, the truckers returned to their trucks and fled from the scene without completing any of the formalities mandated by the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
Soon after the incident, the Ri Bhoi Deputy Commissioner, Superintendent of Police, Magistrates and a large police team rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation, but they did not make any attempt to stop the trucks.
According to some locals, the incident happened because the truckers had been stranded there for three-four days without any food or money since the weigh bridge staffs were unable to speed up the process of clearing the trucks.
Further, the district administration had ordered that the coal which was unloaded from the trucks carrying excess load, should be auctioned on Saturday and should   be loaded and transported within 48 hours, leading to additional delay.
In what was an indication of things to come, on Saturday, some frustrated truckers approached the weigh bridge officials and asked them to speed up the process since they had no money to buy food, but the officials responded coldly by stating that nothing was in their hands, the locals said.
Prior to the attack, the truckers were seen assembled together near the weigh bridge after which they attacked the offices, the eyewitnesses said, recounting the horrific incident.
The villagers also blamed the district police for failing to gather timely information and prevent the attack.
Meanwhile, the State government ordered Transport Commissioner IW Ingty to rush to the spot and access the damages to the three offices.

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