The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has expressed concern over the unregulated movement of over-dimensional and over-weight cargo on national highways.
The Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, allows maximum gross vehicle weight of 49 MT on articulated tractor trailer combination (three axle tractor with three axle trailer). However, loads beyond that need to be transported over modular hydraulic trailers after obtaining permission from MoRTH. The load per axle also has to be maintained within the permissible limit in such cases.
In January this year, the MoRTH circulated guidelines for movement of ODCs and OWCs with the objective of safeguarding structural assets such as bridges on national highways. The guidelines require transporters moving ODCs and OWCs on national highways to seek prior permission from the MoRTH after submitting condition survey of bridges en route through empanelled consultants. The load is also required to be maintained within the permissible limit.
It is estimated that around 200 ODCs and OWCs move on national highways every month.
Despite circulation of the guidelines, the MoRTH has been receiving few applications from transporters for movement of ODCs and OWCs on national highways. It appears that transportation of ODCs and OWCs are being undertaken without necessary permission thereby endangering structural assets on national highways.
Last month, the MoRTH wrote to all states as well as the National Highways Authority of India and Border Roads Organisation stating that it was mandatory to adhere to the guidelines concerning movement of ODCs and OWCs on national highways and that any violation would invite strict action from authorities.