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Truckers' protests against new hit-and-run law triggers panic, fuel scarcity in Maharashtra, Punjab (WATCH)

Nationwide protests by truck drivers in India against the recently enacted Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita (BNS), a new hit-and-run law, have triggered panic buying among motorcycle and car owners. The demonstrations have led to extensive queues at petrol pumps, causing concerns over fuel scarcity in various regions.

Truckers protests against new hit-and-run law triggers panic, fuel scarcity in Maharashtra, Punjab
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First Published Jan 2, 2024, 3:36 PM IST

Protests by truck drivers across India against the recently implemented Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita (BNS), a new hit-and-run law, have triggered panic buying among motorcycle and car owners. The situation has led to extensive queues forming outside petrol pumps, causing disruptions and concerns over fuel scarcity in various regions. In Punjab, extended lines were witnessed at petrol pumps in Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Patiala, and Mohali, where individuals patiently waited for their turn to refuel their vehicles amidst the ongoing protests by truckers. Similar scenes unfolded in Maharashtra, with lengthy queues observed outside petrol pumps in Nagpur, Thane, Jalgaon, and Dhulia.

The BNS, which replaced the colonial-era Indian Penal Code, imposes severe penalties on drivers who cause serious road accidents through negligent driving and flee without informing the authorities. Offenders under the new law could face punishment of up to 10 years in prison or a fine of Rs 7 lakh.

Some petrol pumps in Nagpur have already run out of stock, prompting the possibility of displaying a "No Petrol" sign if the situation persists. In Nashik, tanker drivers halted operations, parking over 1,000 vehicles in Panewadi village, leading to warnings from the Nashik District Petrol Dealers Association about potential fuel shortages.

In Mumbai, the Petrol Pump Association highlighted challenges in maintaining petrol stocks due to panic buying exceeding actual requirements. An association of petrol pump dealers in the Marathwada region warned of potential fuel pump shortages by Tuesday if the situation does not normalize.

Protests escalated in Thane, where drivers blocked traffic on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Highway, resulting in clashes with police personnel. Similar incidents occurred in Navi Mumbai, with a policeman injured as truckers attacked law enforcement, prompting the use of force to disperse the crowd.

The situation in Punjab remains tense, with visuals showing people waiting outside petrol pumps in Amritsar and Patiala amid trucker protests. Local authorities intervened in Ludhiana to disperse blockades, but some petrol pumps in the district have already depleted fuel reserves, raising the prospect of displaying a "No Petrol" sign.

Fuel scarcity has forced the shutdown of three petrol pumps in Patiala, with warnings from the Punjab Petrol Dealers' Association about potential dry spells if the protests persist. Associations of petrol pump dealers in various regions, including Malwa, expressed concerns over stock shortages if the situation does not normalize soon. Tensions and clashes between truckers and law enforcement were reported in other parts of Punjab, including Bathinda and Ferozepur, causing disruptions on highways near neighbouring state borders.

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