Weighbridges are a vital means of revenue generation for states. It is through the weighbridge that commercial loaded trucks are weighed and taxed; crores of revenue generated. But their condition is pathetic, always. These are some of the most dirty and shabby places. The roads are bad wherever there is a weighbridge. Is it not an irony? Being earners of lakhs every day, should they not have been among the best places?

In Meghalaya, the state government recently closed as many as 11 weighbridges due to non-payment by the private lessees. The people were not bothered till then, until the government took a hurried decision to put one of them on the premises of the district transport office at Nongpoh. The place has so far been used as the only proper parking lot for tourist vehicles including various state corporation buses. It is but obvious that one there will be a weighbridge, there will be trucks which will bring along traffic jam, dust etc. It will no more remain a tourist place. The local groups of Ri-Bhoi district have opposed the weighbridge pointing out the traffic jam to be caused by the weighbridge. A post vegetarian restaurant adjacent to the DTO, along with several others inside the parking lot, is equally worried. They thrive on tourism. A truckers’ den would spell doomsday for them.

Shifting the weighbridge from Umling along the arterial NH-40 to Nongpoh seems to be a hurriedly taken decision, without any proper plan. It seems to be a temporary measure, but considering the flow of trucks on the route, the damage to the now decent place will be extensive. It is high time the government had a policy about setting up weighbridges without causing disturbance to the other commuters. The weighbridge on NH-40 should have a capacity of parking of at least 50 trucks while the erstwhile gate at Umling could not accommodate more than three-four trucks. If the National Highways Authority of India can get land for converting the two-lane Guwahati-Shillong road into four-lane, the state government should be able to get at least a proper plot to set up a weighbridge. Or the government is awaiting for the Centre to grant the money for the land and building which will earn the state crores!

(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on July 8, 2016)

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