NEW DELHI: Azadpur Mandi, Asia’s largest fruit and vegetable market, daily witnesses an influx of thousands of trucks to supply fruits and vegetables. But many times, it is seen that these vehicles do not adhere to traffic rules. Driven by greed to carry more goods, these trucks are overloaded. This practice is rampant and several times, it is seen that many people have become victims of overloaded carriers.
Usually, bags filled with vegetables and fruits are overloaded on these vehicles and according to rules, the roof of the truck should be covered with tarpaulin and the trailer of these mini trucks should be closed. But these carrier operators evade all the rules to overload vehicles and make more profit. The Sunday Guardian talked to Nishant Gulati, a social activist, who is trying to spread awareness regarding traffic rules. “In Delhi’s Azadpur Mandi, Keshavpur Mandi and Okhla Mandi, daily various vehicles are loaded, but the main problem is that they load goods above the body of the vehicle and even ‘Dalla’ trailers of these trucks are not closed. Many times, it is seen that they carry people on these overload vehicles. If this vehicle meets an accident because of a pothole or tyre burst, a bag in kilos can fall on any two-wheeler or pedestrian moving with an overloaded carrier,” Gulati said.
“Many times, I have seen accidents taking place. Many people have suffered injuries due to this negligence,” Gulati added.
“It is seen that heavy bags are put on the bottom of the truck, but lightweight goods are placed on the top; without any roof or tarpaulin sheet these bags become more prone to fall; a single small bag of fruit and vegetable can weigh around 25-30 kg; imagine if it falls on someone,” Gulati said.
According to a transporter, all this is done by keeping local supply in the capital and its adjoining area in mind. “Transporters and traders load more goods above the limit to save money and time,” a transporter said. “A Tata ace vehicle can carry around one tonne, but 2-3 tonnes are loaded. Some of it is also seen when various vehicles lose control and meet an accident,” the transporter added.
The transporter further said that the situation is different for inter-state carriers; they underload the vehicle because other state police like UP, Haryana and Punjab are more vigilant towards overloaded vehicles. Gulati said that at various times, he has written letters to authorities and police on this issue, but nothing has been done to address this problem.
In many cases, fatal accidents take place because of overloaded vehicles. Recently, a truck killed four people and injured three after it ran over them while they were sleeping on a road divider in Delhi’s Seemapuri area. The Sunday Guardian tried to contact Delhi Police for their comment on this issue. No response from Delhi Police was received till the story went to press.